A teacher has been described as ‘a hero and a lifesaver’ after he donated one of his kidneys to a seriously ill pupil from Stratford.
The father of 13-year-old Alya Ahmed Ali said Ray Coe has given his daughter a ‘second chance at life’ and is ‘an amazing man’ after a successful transplant at Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Mr Coe, 53, is the special educational needs co-ordinator at Royal Docks Community School in Custom House, east London.
The father-of-one asked what he could do to help Alya when she was off school last summer to undergo kidney dialysis.
The teenager suffers from a condition called hydrocephalus, which causes water on the brain and has resulted in her having severe learning difficulties.
She also suffered from renal failure, leading to Ray incredible offer to be an organ donor.
He explained: “I knew what being a donor meant and I knew there was a possibility it could go ahead and I knew the implications.
“I knew what I was doing.
“There is a verse in the Bible that says something like: ‘Maybe you were born for such a time as this.’
“It just clicked and I knew it was right.”
Alya’s father, Ahmed Ali, was full of praise for the teacher, saying: “He has given her more than just the gift of life.
“He’s an amazing man, we owe him so much.”
Ray said his wife, who after the initial shock of what he was willing to go through, supported his actions.
He said: “When we told Alya, she just gave me a big squeeze and her face lit up.
“It brings tears to my eyes whenever I think of that.”
Despite not being related to Alya blood tests confirmed Ray was a match, leading to the successful transplant surgery at Great Ormond Street in February.
Both Alya and Ray are now recovering well and are expected to return to school after the Easter break.
Ray said: “For her parents, it’s not words that can express their gratitude.
“For them I have saved their daughter’s life. It’s like I am another family member now.”
Wendy Bower, headteacher at Royal Docks Community School, said: “Mr Coe has gone above and beyond the call of duty with this selfless and noble act.
“He is a very humble and modest man. The whole staff are in admiration for his kindness.
“He has given a new life to Alya and her whole family.”