A MUM stepped in to save her seriously ill son by donating her kidney after his arranged transplant fell through when he contracted coronavirus.

Young Greenock man Josh Houston, who was diagnosed with a life-threatening kidney disease, says he has been gifted a new lease of life from his big-hearted mum Michelle.

Josh was diagnosed with IgA Nephropathy - a disease that attacks the kidneys and limits their functions - in 2017 after being unwell for a short period beforehand.

Tests confirmed his kidney function had dropped to just 33 per cent and he was placed on a rigorous diet which excluded salt and alcohol to slow the decrease in the organ's functionality.

Despite his perseverance and hard work which got his kidney functioning at 41 per cent, it then rapidly declined - meaning he needed an urgent donor.

In October, a match was found for Josh from a deceased donor, however the railway technical officer contracted Covid-19 and surgeons were unable to operate.

However, Josh's hero mum Michelle was almost a 'perfect' genetic match and offered up her own kidney.

It was transplanted to her son before Christmas after a lengthy process which involved background checks and psychological examinations.

Josh, who lives with fiancee Joanna Duncan, told the Tele: "I was first diagnosed in July 2017 after being unwell for a very long time.

"I went from running up to 50 miles per week to nothing.

"It's been difficult adapting my whole life - I had to cook entirely from scratch to ensure I knew exactly what I was eating and could only have a 'treat' meal maybe once per month.

"I lost lots of weight as I wasn't sure what I could eat, so I had to be mentally strong to get through.

"I really appreciate my mum and am so grateful that so far, the kidney has not rejected.

"I've been so fortunate to have had the support of my family and the NHS - from diagnosis to now, they have always gone above and beyond for me."

Michelle, who works in finance, has an almost identical genetic makeup to Josh and also has blood type 'O', meaning medics deemed her a perfect donor.

Despite the operation being a success, the 48-year-old says it was not without risks.

The mum of Josh, Michael and Erin said: "I went through lots of test and examinations to make sure I was completely healthy and mentally well.

"There were X-rays and MRI scans and we even had to provide medics with photographs of Josh and I over the years to prove that we were related.

"I also had to decide what would happen with the kidney if for whatever reason my operation occurred but Josh couldn't accept it - I had options such as donating it to scientific research or to give it to someone else on the waiting list.

"Thankfully we are both recovering well and Josh is responding well.

"We feel very lucky that it seems to have worked and there haven't been any rejection issues so far."

Even with the new organ giving him back some freedom, Josh still has to take precautions in the coming months.

He added: "Whilst I can almost eat anything I like again, I am on medication for the foreseeable.

"I take tablets at 11am and 11pm every day which is sometimes difficult when I am on nightshift.

"There is still the possibility that the kidney could reject, but I feel so lucky as I know others who haven't been as fortunate as I to get a match like this.

"There is a big chance that I might need another kidney in the future, so I'd perhaps need to look at one of my siblings or a donor scheme."

Josh and Michelle hope by telling their story, others may consider becoming part of the live donor scheme.

Michelle added: "Kidney transplants are usually much more successful when they come from a live donor.

"There is also a pool donation scheme and of course people can sign up to donate their organs once they pass away.

"It's given Josh his life back."

*To find out more about the living donor scheme, visit organdonation.nhs.uk/become-a-living-donor or for more information about kidney research, visit kidneyresearchuk.org