Page last updated at 13:32 GMT, Monday, 15 March 2010

Devon wife's battle to shed weight for kidney donation

Andy Lamb undergoing kidney dialysis
Andy Lamb's kidneys were failing and he had to undergo weekly dialysis

A woman who lost 3st (19kg) so she could donate a kidney to her critically-ill husband has described it as a life-changing experience.

Last year doctors told 19st (120.6kg) Sam Lamb, 37, they could not operate until she was thinner, so she began dieting and joined a gym.

The operations went ahead in October and the couple, who live in Ivybridge, Devon, have both fully recovered.

"We've got a future to look forward to now," 41-year-old Andy Lamb said.

Mr Lamb, who was previously having to undergo weekly dialysis treatment at Plymouth's Derriford Hospital, said it was not an easy decision to accept his wife's kidney.

I was too young to be a widow
Samantha Lamb

The couple have a four-year-old daughter and Mr Lamb has two teenage children from a previous marriage.

"Sam had always said if anything happened she'd donate a kidney and I always said 'no I'd rather you didn't put yourself at that risk'," Mr Lamb told BBC News.

"But she was determined she was going to do it and nothing I was going to say was going to stop her."

Mrs Lamb said although they rowed about the organ donation, there was never any question of her changing her mind.

Samantha Lamb in the gym
Sam had to reduce her body mass index before the operation

"Life was horrible because Andy was in pain and he had to go for dialysis in the hospital, which he hated," she said.

"His mind was going 'we'll do this, this and this', but his body was going 'no we won't'," she said.

"He was in a constant battle with himself and to watch him getting worse daily made me feel so helpless."

She said the 41-year-old was not only her husband, but her soul mate and she was "damned" if she would allow something as trivial as kidney disease to take him away from her.

"I was too young to be a widow," she added.

Mrs Lamb's struggle to lose weight and the kidney transplant was filmed for a BBC television documentary.

"Diet or my husband dies" will be broadcast on BBC1 on Monday 15 March at 2235 GMT.

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