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Drag queen battling chronic kidney disease becomes first to receive life-saving transplant since lockdown

Lily Wakefield August 27, 2020
Drag queen kidney transplant

Stephen Lim, also known as Nadia Business, had been on the waiting list for a kidney transplant for six years. (nadiabusinessqween/ Instagram)

A drag queen fighting chronic kidney disease has become the first patient post-lockdown to receive a life-saving kidney transplant at a Manchester hospital.

Manchester Royal Infirmary (MRI) was forced to stop performing transplant surgeries for four months during the coronavirus pandemic, but in July doctors were able to resume the life-saving operations.

According to Manchester Evening News, the first patient to get a call saying they would be undergoing transplant surgery was 27-year-old Stephen Lim, otherwise known as his drag persona Nadia Business.

Lim comperes a karaoke night at a club in Bolton as Nadia, and also takes part in outreach programmes for his local LGBT+ community.

He was born with chronic kidney disease, also known as chronic kidney failure, which causes a gradual loss of kidney function over time.

When he was very young, Lim suffered irreversible scarring to his kidneys because of an infection, and he had been on the waiting list for a kidney transplant for the last six years.

The drag queen said: “My family and I have been speaking about the possibility of getting a transplant for about 20 years… There’s so much that goes in to finding the right match, and a year or so back I’d been called in for a transplant that unfortunately could not go ahead, so I was starting to think it might not happen.”

But on July 7, Lim wrote on Instagram: “Guess who got the kidney transplant call he’s been waiting for for six years, this morning around 4am?”

He was brought in to have the operation on the same day, receiving a transplant from a deceased donor.

Lim said: “I’m so thankful to him and his family for all he’s given me. To lose a loved one is never easy, so I will pay my respects by living well and looking after myself as best I can.

“I can’t say thank you enough to everyone in the transplant team for everything they’ve done.

“The whole team have been professional, welcoming and friendly throughout, and are always very quick to explain stuff so I know what’s going on.”

He added: “I feel especially lucky and grateful to be the first MRI patient to receive an organ since after lockdown.

“I know that COVID-19 precautions will have added another layer of complexity for the team’s work but they were so professional that you couldn’t notice… Due to COVID-19 restrictions my parents unfortunately weren’t able to come with me into the hospital, but the team were great at making me feel comfortable.

“My mum’s a nurse so I’ve had to distance from her in the house which has been interesting, but we understand we need to act responsibly so we’re taking all precautions.

“I now feel really well, even better than I was expecting to after the operation. My surgery wound is healing well and it looks like everything is going in the right direction in terms of my condition improving which is great.”

More: bolton, drag queen, kidney transplant, Manchester, Manchester royal infirmary, nadia business, Stephen Lim

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