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A Stranger I Met at The Beach Gave Me Her Kidney

Lucy Humphrey, from Wales, potentially only had a few years to live when she took a trip to the beach with her partner and two dogs. But thanks to a chance encounter with a stranger "chosen" by one of her pets, her life was saved.

Lucy Humphrey and Katie James, Barry, Wales
Lucy Humphrey and Katie James | Credit: Cenydd Owen

After living with lupus for more than a decade, Lucy's kidneys failed. Despite dialysis, in 2019 she was told she might only have five years to live without a transplant.

Recently, Lucy, 44, and her partner Cenydd Owen, 49, both from Caerphilly, decided to have a day out at Cold Knap beach in Barry, Vale of Glamorgan. Lucy and Cenydd parked their campervan overlooking the beach and set themselves up with a barbecue, together with their two Dobermans.

"Indie kept going over to this woman about 100 yards away," Lucy told the BBC. "She kept going back and forward to her and we kept calling her back, because obviously a big Doberman can be a little bit intimidating. We thought she had food or something and Cenydd kept calling her back. In the end we went over to apologise to her."

The stranger was Katie James, a 40-year-old, from Barry. She was sitting at the beach crocheting and it turned out she didn't mind Indie going over to her.

"She was actually having quite a bad time herself, so I invited her to our barbecue," said Lucy.

"She came over, bought some drink over with her, and offered me some. Cenydd explained that I couldn't drink as I was on dialysis. She was like 'oh what's that for', and he said she's waiting for a kidney transplant."

Surprised, Katie explained: "Oh, I've just gone on the kidney donation register!"

"Who are you going to donate your kidney to?" asked Cenydd. "Anyone who wants it," Katie replied.

Katie and Lucy swapped numbers and contacted a donor coordinator the next day. "She had all the tests and it turned out she was a perfect match," said Lucy. "A surgeon told us it's a one in 22 million chance to find the perfect match, and that's what I needed as I've got Lupus."

"We ended up going to Barry by total chance, meeting Katie by total chance, and Lucy's ended up with a kidney," says Cenydd. "We want to show that there is always hope for people. Never give in, because you never know, we weren't even going to go to the beach that day. There's a lot of good people out there."

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