Genetic nightmare for Warrnambool family

A WARRNAMBOOL family has broken records.

But they’re not the type of records anyone wants to break.

Rachael Sealey, 35, has found herself in a situation that is all too familiar to other family members.

STRONG BOND: Rachael Sealey with her niece Lanie Hyder, 7, sister Lisa Hyder, mum Jenni DeGrandi, daughter Talia Sealey, 15, and sister Elira DeGrandi. Picture: Rob Gunstone

STRONG BOND: Rachael Sealey with her niece Lanie Hyder, 7, sister Lisa Hyder, mum Jenni DeGrandi, daughter Talia Sealey, 15, and sister Elira DeGrandi. Picture: Rob Gunstone

She desperately needs a kidney transplant.

“Two years ago I had no energy and I thought I had a urine infection,” Ms Sealey said.

“I went to the doctor and he called the next night and told me I needed to go straight to hospital – my kidney function was down to 9 per cent.”

Two years prior, her mother Jenni DeGrandi and sister Lisa Hyder had undergone transplants within three weeks of each other.

Mrs DeGrandi’s older sister Jeanette Kelly also underwent a kidney transplant, their mother was on dialysis and their grandmother died from kidney disease.

She said doctors were shocked by the high number of family members struck by kidney disease.

Mrs DeGrandi said they had been told their immune systems attack their kidneys.

She was upset when she learnt Ms Sealey also needed a new kidney.

TENSE WAIT: Rachael Sealey, right, hopes to receive a donor kidney. She hopes her daughter Talia, 15, isn't affected by the hereditary disease. Picture: Rob Gunstone

TENSE WAIT: Rachael Sealey, right, hopes to receive a donor kidney. She hopes her daughter Talia, 15, isn't affected by the hereditary disease. Picture: Rob Gunstone

Now, Ms Sealey is concerned her daughter Talia, 15, is also at risk of contracting kidney disease.

“There’s a risk and it’s horrible,” Ms Sealey said.

While she is on the donor list, Ms Sealey has to go on dialysis for five hours three days a week.

It’s a traumatic experience for Ms Sealey, who has a needle phobia.

“It’s horrible,” she said.

Ms Sealey may wait years for a suitable donor.

She encouraged people to become an organ donor.

“It’s such a huge thing to be able to save someone’s life,” Ms Sealey said.

“If you can do it, you should.”

Ms Sealey said she has good days and bad days, feeling extremely lethargic at times.

Her dialysis days are Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, making Monday the toughest day.

“At the start (of dialysis) I was really good, but at the moment I’ve got very little energy,” Ms Sealey said.

Mrs Hyder was lucky to have a kidney donated by a friend and Ms Sealey has witnessed her return to health.

Shawn Delaney donated a kidney to Mrs Hyder after she spent 18 months on dialysis.

Ms Sealey’s mother wasn’t as lucky, with her body rejecting the donor kidney at the start.

“My body rejected it for the first two weeks,” she said.

Mrs DeGrandi said she hoped generations to come would be spared from enduring what she had.

“I just want it to stop,” she said.

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop