A MUM-of-two has been granted a lifeline by a generous friend who has donated a kidney to her.

Helen Cavanagh, aged 51, selflessly offered to give up her kidney to her work colleague Julie Rogers, who suffers from polycystic kidney disease and had to have both kidneys taken out in 2011.

Julie, who lives in Hindley, has been on dialysis three times a week since, and Helen was so shocked when she realised how ill her friend was that she offered her the ultimate gift of life.

Julie, aged 45, said: “We have worked together for a long time and when I had my kidney removed in November 2011, she was a great support. And then she just told me one day around Easter this year she wanted to be a donor for me.

“Before then we had never been really really close, so I was completely overwhelmed. I couldn’t believe it. I almost didn’t want to get too excited in case she changed her mind, because that does happen sometimes.

“But Helen just said she had already thought about it and she wanted to do it and be able to help in whatever way she could. I accepted the offer and we haven’t looked back since.”

Julie, mum to Sophie, aged 19, and Jordan, aged 22, works at RBS in Bolton. She started working with Helen, a project manager for RBS in Manchester, 16 years ago.

The operation, which went ahead on Friday, was a success and now both women are recovering well at Manchester Royal Infirmary.

Helen said: “I’m really pleased I’ve done it. But it doesn’t feel like anything big, it’s something that I’ve just done, like going for a walk.

“More than anything I really hope that our story will give others the courage to look into being a donor, because there are so many people out there who need it.”