A Ghanaian teenager given just weeks to live is to receive a life-saving kidney transplant from his father at a Birmingham hospital.
Felix Yeboah was brought to Britain by Birmingham-based charity Transplant Links, after Andrew Ready, consultant renal surgeon at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Edgbaston, heard his emotive plea for help at a medical conference in Ghana last year.
Diagnosed with advanced kidney failure in February 2006, the 14-year-old's family have fought to get what little treatment they could afford for him.
Dialysis costs about 100 US dollars a session, with patients typically needing three or more a week, equating to at least $300 a week, which prices many out of receiving treatment. But Mr Ready, who pioneered the use of living donors at the QE and will perform the transplant, said kidney failure was "tantamount to a death sentence" in developing countries like Ghana.
"Here, when patients are diagnosed with kidney failure, they're put on dialysis and ultimately may have a transplant, which is something we tend to take for granted," he said. "That simply doesn't happen in the developing world, where people are dying instead of getting treatment.
"I first met Felix when we attended the first meeting of the Kidney Transplant Foundation last November. He had to be helped up to the podium, but when he spoke about how he was too ill to play football or go to school, it touched everyone. It was really emotive.
"We hadn't gone to Ghana to look for a patient to bring back, least of all because of the ethical questions that raises - how do you pluck one out of thousands to live? But we couldn't turn our backs on him."
Doctors expected Felix's level of creatinine, the waste product filtered by the kidneys, to register between 250 and 300, but his reading was 1,000.
Felix, a keen Aston Villa fan, and his father Michael will stay in Birmingham for eight weeks while they recover from the transplant surgery.
Mr Yeboah, who is a church pastor in their home town of Accra, in Ghana, explained how he had fought for whatever help he could get for his son.
"I fight for treatment for him, and when I found out that Dr Adu, Dr Ready and their team were coming to the Kidney Transplant Foundation, I really hoped they would help," he said. "After they saw Felix speak they promised that they would help him.
"He is my beloved son and I can't let him die if all he needs is one of my kidneys. I would never let him die if I can help him in any way."
Felix, who dreams of becoming a doctor in future, claimed he was not afraid of going into surgery. "I'm never afraid, I am not nervous about the operation," he said.
"I can't play football with my friends at the moment or go to school because I'm too ill, but I can't wait to be well enough so I can.
"I want to be a doctor when I'm older, like Dr Ready and Dr Adu, so I can help people financially. I think God has played a large part in making this happen, introducing us to them."
Mr Yeboah will go into theatre first tomorrow, for one of his kidneys to be removed using keyhole surgery. Felix will be brought in a few hours later, to receive his new organ, and the whole procedure should take less than six hours.
Birmingham's Deputy Lord Mayor Councillor Mike Sharpe underwent the same procedure, receiving a donor kidney from his wife Thelma, at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital last year.
Mr Ready's operating team are coming in to perform the operation during their own time, so as not to take any staff away from planned procedures. He added: "Last year we performed 150 kidney transplants, 60 using living donors, and we're getting the best results we've every had here.
"My team are happy to come in on Sunday, that's how passionately they believe in what we can do here and what Transplant Links wants to do in places like Ghana.
"But Felix's story also shows there is still a very strong need for donors, both in the UK and overseas, which is something we are taking for granted in Britain."
For more information about the charity go to www.transplantlinks.org.uk