It was a chat with a stranger at a party that saved Manoly Viravong’s life.
The mother of two, who had been waiting for a kidney transplant for five years, struck up a conversation with Veronica Buttigieg, a friend of a friend she had never spoken to before.
The talk turned to health and Mrs Viravong’s disappointment that her brother had decided against donating one of his kidneys to her.
But Mrs Buttigieg, 53, did more than just politely sympathise. Over the clink of glasses and chatter of the other guests, she made an amazing offer.
‘Why not have one of my kidneys?,’ she asked.
Two months later, the operation took place and Mrs Viravong, 45, is well on the way to recovery.
Mrs Buttigieg, who lives with her husband Mario, 54, a painter and decorator, said she would happily donate again if she could.
‘I barely knew Manoly but after talking to her and hearing of how desperate she was, I felt it was the right thing to do,’ she said.
Mrs Viravong, who has suffered from kidney problems for 18 years, is still astonished at her good fortune.
‘I did not know Veronica very well at all. We have a mutual friend and I had seen her at social gatherings a handful of times but we had never really talked,’ she recalled.
‘Shortly after arriving at the party, which was a friend’s 40th wedding anniversary, she offered me her kidney. Just in a really casual way.
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