Grateful Flint gran knits her way through ark animals

Published date: 04 June 2014 |
Published by: Owen Evans 
Read more articles by Owen Evans  Email reporter


AN ARTISTIC pensioner whose grandson was born with one kidney has knitted a scene from Noah’s Ark to raise money for the hospital that she said “saved his life”.

John O’Brian, of Maes Gwyn, Flint, has had  a range of treatments and procedures at Glan Clwyd Hospital, Bodelwyddan, after being born without one of his kidneys.

When the 31-year-old was a teenager, his dad, also called John, donated a kidney but it was rejected by his body.

As his remaining kidney has degenerated over the years, John requires regular dialysis and a gruelling wait for another transplant.

Now, John’s grandmother June, 79, has decided to fundraise for the “marvellous” hospital, which she said saved her grandson’s life.

Mrs O’Brian, who lives in Flint, said: “John was born with one kidney which deteriorated over the years and he had different operations and he was in and out of the hospital.

“He has lived with it his entire life but he’s been a really brave lad.

“He is on dialysis – he has to have two hours a week and he has to have injections every day in the same place.”

Mrs O’Brian said John became seriously ill last year, but had since improved.
She said: “This time last year he looked awful – we thought we were going to lose him – but he came through.

“At one point we thought he was going to lose his legs as well, but that didn’t happen.

“He’s waiting on the transplant list and hopefully he can get one soon.”
She said despite his illness, John coped incredibly well.

“He really is marvellous,” she said.

As a thank you to Glan Clwyd Hospital’s renal unit, Mrs O’Brian has knitted a selection of animals, which she hopes to sell.

The great-grandmother, who has been producing art for many years, is exhibiting them at Flint Library.

In the past, Mrs O’Brian has raised money for Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Liverpool, which also treated John when he was younger, by selling other art pieces.

Now she has taken on the challenge of making many of the animals mentioned in the Biblical story of Noah’s Ark.

She said: “I was given a book called Noah’s Knits and I thought I would have a go at making them.

“I started with the giraffe, which was the hardest one, so after that I was OK at making them because I felt like I could knit anything.”

She has now knitted 28 animals, ranging from penguins to zebras.

The work will be on display at the library for the next month.

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