Teen Maddie Collins is exceeding expectations by taking her first steps alone, only days after a potentially life-saving kidney transplant.

Maddie, 14, and her family were told on January 16 their five-year wait for a kidney match had been found.

They flew from Christchurch to Auckland early the following day and Maddie underwent the initial operation at 1pm at Starship Children's Health.

Maddie's mother Sarah Manson-Collins said hospital staff are "gobsmacked" by her recovery.

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She said Maddie may be discharged to Ronald McDonald House, Auckland, on Friday.

Mrs Manson-Collins said some of the almost $300,000 raised for Maddie will be used to cover transplant expenses and the rest will be saved for future medical costs.

She isn't sure how long this kidney will last but hopes it's "quite a few years".

Complications following the transplant meant it was a long night for the family.

Maddie's new kidney was not working and had no blood flow to it due to a kink in an artery. The surgery was expected to take four to six hours. But after Maddie was taken out of theatre, she was later rushed back in.

Surgeons reopened her and unsuccessfully tried to restitch the artery to remove the kink. They then tried to shorten the artery, but that did not work either.

Maddie Collins last year on her horse Trig. Photo / Martin Hunter
Maddie Collins last year on her horse Trig. Photo / Martin Hunter

Maddie's new kidney was then removed and surgeons re-positioned it in a higher position.

Her second surgery lasted for more than seven hours.

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Mrs Manson-Collins told Selwyn Times Maddie's kidney disease, nephrotic syndrome, had not returned yet.

Maddie will now spend a few months in Auckland resting and regaining her strength.

She received a kidney transplant from her father Adam Collins five years ago but her body rejected it. With only a two per cent chance, the family did not expect to find another kidney match in New Zealand.

They were planning a trip to The John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, United States, which had been looking at new kinds of transplants, to find a match.

Mrs Manson-Collins said they feel for the family of the donor who lost their loved one, but they were also really thankful for the donation.

"We're so grateful to the family who has donated their family member's organs so that our daughter can live. We'll forever be in their debt," she said.

• To donate an organ, get in touch with Organ Donation NZ on 0800 4 DONOR (0800 436 667) or the Ministry of Health on 0800 LIVE DONOR 0800 5483 3666