TWINS are said to have a special bond – but for David and James Latham, they have something extraordinary in common.
The identical brothers have both battled with chronic kidney disease.
After three life-changing transplant procedures, they have seven kidneys between them.
James, aged 49, who lives in Hindley with his wife Linda, was diagnosed with focal sclerosing glomerulonephritis in 1995 and had his first transplant in 1996.
But the kidney only lasted for three years and he had to go back on dialysis. It was not until 2001 when another kidney became available that James could have a second transplant.
His twin David, from Westhoughton, was diagnosed with the same kidney disease in 1999.
In December David finally got the call he had been waiting for – a suitable donor had been found and he was called for surgery at Manchester Royal Infirmary.
David said: “We had actually had two phone calls before but the transplants had fallen through at the last minute. When we got the third one, I couldn’t believe it was going to go ahead.”
Yet James says he sensed his twin would get the phonecall.
“I knew something was wrong the night before,” he said.
“I couldn’t sleep and I knew something was going to happen. Then when the phone rang the next day, I knew David had got a kidney. I just couldn’t believe it.”
Now both twins are able to live without relying on dialysis.
James has had to overcome other obstacles with his health. In 2012 he had his leg amputated due to a blockage behind his knee and was diagnosed with diabetes.
James added: “We just get on with things and don’t make much of a fuss. That’s the way we are.”