Steve & Tony
Steve & Tony
They say that our lives are already mapped out for us and that we're guided by fate. Maybe so, who knows? This true story may make you consider that sentence.
In 1965, in Cardiff, two little baby boys were born to two different families. Two little boys just three days apart. Both fathers worked at the same factory in Cardiff but there the connection stopped. However, as time went on these two little boys would meet each other and become the very best of friends. Their names are Steve and Tony. As a young boy, Steve was a bit of a handful. His parents, however, found the perfect place for him to burn up his energy: Saturday morning dance classes. Tony's cousin Carole also attended the classes. The connection was made; Steve and Tony met and became friends from the age of eight in 1973.
In their teenage years, Steve and Tony went to two different high schools and only met occasionally. Tony recalls meeting Steve and Carole one Friday evening at Barry Island funfair in 1980; Steve sat on the wall as Tony and Carole chatted. It was going to be quite a few years before they were to meet again. Meet they did, though, in 1990. Steve was working in a nightclub in Cardiff and they briefly met and arranged to meet up the following Saturday, September 22nd 1990.
In time, they moved in together, bought a house and started their long relationship. In 2013, forty years after their time-lines first crossed, they held their Civil Partnership, and in 2014 they legally became a married couple.
Steve has polycystic kidney disease; his kidneys have cysts or growths in them which mean that over time the kidneys will fail. Currently, there is no cure. The disease is managed and monitored. There are five stages of the disease but eventually it means dialysis or a waiting list for a kidney transplant.
In 2016, following one of his regular checks at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, Steve received a phone call from the Kidney team. His illness had moved to stage 4 and the time had come to start planning the move to dialysis. At the time, the news did make the couple feel as though their world was ending. However, after meeting the pre-dialysis team and attending information sessions funded and arranged by Kidney Wales, they felt reassured. Even though not ideal, and yes it would change their lives, dialysis would offer them the ability to continue life as normal as possible, with a few changes to lifestyle. However, the better option would be a transplant from a living donor. Tony didn't hesitate and immediately asked to be checked to see if he was a suitable donor.There followed many months of tests, screening and checks. They were the same blood group, and as the various tests were carried out, amazingly Tony was found to be a suitable match and the couple were able to start planning the transplant. Yes, it was a difficult and emotional challenge to face but the couple were together and supported each other every day. A date was eventually set and the transplant would take place on September 22nd 2017. Twenty-seven years to the day that the couple started their relationship.
Staff at the transplant unit in the UHW were superb. After a brief few days in hospital, the couple came home. They were helped and supported by their close friend Debbie and her family and eventually, after a few months of convalescing, they could return to normal life.
Thankfully the transplant has been a success. Steve's health has improved and he is feeling and looking much better. Tony has experienced no change to his health at all and feels no different whatsoever. Now the couple can look forward and enjoy their lives together as any other couple would do.
Since 2006 Steve and Tony have been active members of Barry-based amateur dramatics company, Billboard Ensemble. It's their second home and family. They have performed side-by-side in many musicals and pantomimes in the company and made deep bonds and friendships amongst their second family.
Recently, Billboard Ensemble held a fundraising evening as a thank you to Kidney Wales for the help and support Steve and Tony received throughout their treatment. Funds raised will help Kidney Wales continue their program of assisting people throughout Wales who have kidney disease. The evening itself was arranged by Kath Thomas, one of the members of Billboard and one of the couple’s closest friends.
On the night over £1500 was raised through cake sales, raffles, prize draws, games and good old cups of tea. Family and friends of Billboard came along, members of both the Junior and Adult sections performed numbers from their latest musical productions “Honk” and “Sister Act”, and a brilliant evening was had by all.
Speaking to Tony and discussing the couple's story, Tony said that he never thought twice - not for a second - about what he should do. Steve is his life; they are a couple. If Steve needed an arm, a leg or whatever, he would do the same again. He is just so lucky and thankful that he was able to help the man he loves. His life.
Fate? Life planned out? Who knows. But two little boys, just a few days apart, would eventually meet and fall in love and give each other the gift of life. Tony was asked what made him do it and as he said, “Love is the reason, and the reward.