A 22-YEAR-old who underwent a kidney transplant just two months ago has thanked her stepmum for her selfless act which helped save her life.

Tara Bashford, from Runcorn, was in urgent need of a kidney after she was diagnosed with IGA Nephropathy, an auto-immune disease, when she was 18-years-old.

She explained: "I only had 28 per cent kidney function by then.

"In September 2017 my dad gave me a kidney but it failed because of a clot.

"I then had to start dialysis for one-and-a half years, five days a week."

Tara's stepmum Lynsey, 35, decided to step in but the pair were disappointed to find out they were not a perfect match.

Instead, they took part in a pooled donation through the UK Living Kidney Sharing Scheme where incompatible donors and recipients are matched with others in a similar situation to find perfect matches for everyone involved.

Runcorn and Widnes World: Tara BashfordTara Bashford

Tara said: "It's completely anonymous and it's quite difficult because everyone needs to be healthy at the same time.

"You have to keep a level head because things could fall apart.

"They are really volatile- even wheeling down to theatre I still didn't think it would happen."

On January 28, Tara and Lynsey both had surgery and after a short stay in intensive care due to complications, Tara was soon back to her old self.

She said: "I am back doing all the things I was before.

"It's been hard to not have to worry about what I am eating or drinking and I'll always be on medication for the rest of my life but it is a small price to pay to be alive.

"Thank you to Lynsey for giving me the chance to live and be a normal 22-year-old."

Tara has said the change to organ donation laws in England is long overdue.

Under the new system, which comes into effect next year, consent to organ donation will be presumed unless people have opted out, potentially saving hundreds of lives every year.

Tara added: "It still gives people the option to say no, it's not about removing people's rights.

"There are thousands of people on the list waiting for a transplant."

Runcorn and Widnes World: Tara BashfordTara Bashford

Lynsey is also supporting the new system and said there was no need for her to think about if she wanted to donate her kidney.

She explained: "I was never worried about the operation, my main concern was what would happen to Tara.

"It's a case of if you care enough about someone- me and Tara have a very special relationship.

"I have a few scares which I take as a privilege of having the opportunity to donate.

"Organ donation is something I have felt very strongly about from a young age.

"Why not give someone the opportunity to have a life after you?"

The pair are now planning to make contact with the people who took part in their pooled exchange to see how the process has helped them.

For more information about kidney donation visit Kidney Care UK's website