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Special needs teacher donates kidney to dying pupil

25th Apr 2014
Special needs teacher Ray Coe, 53, donated his kidney to 13 year-old Alya Ahmed Ali 


Shakira Saleem

A special needs teacher has been hailed a hero after donating one of his kidneys to save the life of a seriously ill student.

Ray Coe, 53, a Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator, at the Royal Docks Community School in Newham, east London, stepped in to rescue 13 year-old Alya Ahmed Ali after learning she was desperate for a donor. Alya suffered from renal failure and has hydrocephalus, water on the brain, resulting in her having severe learning difficulties.

Coe had been notified of Ayla’s situation during the summer term last year, when her mum told him about her kidney dialysis.

Concerned, he asked what he could do to help and if he could donate his kidney.

Coe said: “When we told Alya, she just gave me a big squeeze and her face lit up. It brings tears to my eyes whenever I think of that.”

Alya and Coe both had blood tests and surprisingly, thought they aren’t related; it showed they were a match. The transplant successfully was carried out in February, in Great Ormond Street Hospital.

It’s rare to get a matching kidney from someone unrelated and, on average, only 1 in every 100,000 kidney’s are commonly transplanted without getting rejected.

A genetic link between donor and recipient, although beneficial, is not necessarily required. This is largely due to improved anti-rejection medications.

Alya’s father Ahmed, 47, from Stratford, east London, paid tribute to Coe who he says “has given Alya much more than just the gift of life. He’s an amazing man, we owe him so much.”

They are both recovering from the operation and will return to school after the Easter Break.

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