Marion in chocolate heaven after transplant

A LIFE TRANSFORMED: Marion Pattinson can enjoy chocolate eclairs now major surgery has cured her diabetes. Photo (TIM WILSON): SG2001
A LIFE TRANSFORMED: Marion Pattinson can enjoy chocolate eclairs now major surgery has cured her diabetes. Photo (TIM WILSON): SG2001
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A second major organ transplant has cured a Spalding woman’s diabetes, which means she’s in chocolate eclair heaven for the first time in nearly 40 years.

As well as eating cakes, Marion Pattinson (49) can also do something that was unthinkable only months ago – walk the two-mile round journey to town and back home.

Marion, of Redthorne Close, made headlines in this newspaper in 2012 when she first met vet Clare Bolitho – who donated a kidney the previous year for a life-changing transplant operation.

On October 24, Marion was given a new pancreas in an eight-and-a-half-hour operation in Oxford hospital, which ended the type 1 diabetes she’d suffered since the age of ten.

Marion said: “I feel great. I just get up and go now, whereas before I was so tired.”

Marion was supported through pancreas surgery and recovery by her family, including partner Nigel Clare, daughter Emma (26), and by Clare Bolitho, who has become like a sister since they first met.

“On March 15, we will be going out for a meal, me, my partner and Clare, because that’s the four-year anniversary of the kidney transplant,” said Marion. Sadly, Marion can never personally thank the young person who died in order to donate the pancreas.

“If I could speak to the family, I would say I am very thankful – more than thankful – for giving me a new lease of life,” said Marion.

A wonderful bonus from Marion Pattinson’s pancreas transplant is that she can at last eat cake – something that’s been on the banned list since she was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of ten.

Marion was in hospital for 11 days following surgery in October and remembers tucking into a chocolate eclair during her first week of recovery at home.

She said: “I am not really a sweet-toothed person. I suppose it’s with being diabetic for so long.”

Marion refuses to overdo sweet treats – eclairs or Black Forest gateau – because too much could lead to type 2

diabetes and that’s not something she’s prepared to risk

after being so ill for so long.

Her kidneys failed a year-and-a-half before her first transplant operation and she was “wired up” to a dialysis machine when a call came through that there was a

tissue match with a live


Wolverhampton vet Clare Bolitho, then 60, had taken the extraordinary step of giving up one of her own kidneys in order to transform the life of someone she didn’t even know.

Clare told us in 2012 that she had won her own battle against alcoholism 21 years previously.

She said: “I wanted to do something to give someone else the second chance that I had. I haven’t got kids, I wanted to leave behind something, do something not selfish.”

Clare said more people should consider donating a kidney and that one kidney really is enough for anyone.

Marion and Clare now meet up a few times a year – mostly at a halfway point in Grantham – and Marion says: “We are like sisters, really.”

It was seventh time lucky the day Marion finally received her new pancreas – she had been prepared for operations seven times but it was only on October 24 that the available organ was found suitable for transplant.