MOST people joining a slimming club hope to lose a few pounds and feel better in their clothes.

But for Helen Hopgood it could be a decision that changes the life of her beloved sister.

The 46-year-old wants to donate her kidney to her sister Melanie Wellbelove who was diagnosed with stage five renal failure in November last year.

The sisters, who are separated in age by less than two years, have always been close so when Helen heard the shock news about her sister’s health she was willing to do anything she could to help.

But Helen, who has a grown up son and a grandaughter, was told by a renal consultant that she needed to lose more than four stone before she could be a donor and so joined Slimming World in Devizes at the beginning of January.

She said: “Melanie keeps telling me how wonderful I am for offering to do this but I know she would do the same thing for me. She has been amazing through all of this.

“She is a very upbeat character and is known by so many people in Devizes.”

Her target is now in sight but she plans to continue dieting and is also taking part in fundraising events. She has raised £1,000 for the National Kidney Federation by completing the Brecon Beacons Challenge, a 25K trek over Pen Y Fan, on July 6, where she was supported by her partner Andy Smith.

Melanie, 48, who is married with two children, works as a manager at Route 2 Fitness gym in Devizes had no idea that she was seriously ill when she went to the doctors in November.

The next day the blood test result showed the extent of her kidney problems and when the surgery could not get hold of her a staff member went to her home in Devizes and she was taken immediately to the Royal United Hospital, Bath and then transferred to Southmead Hospital, Bristol.

She was put on dialysis and for a number of months had to travel to Bristol three days a week for four hour sessions. She is now able to do her own dialysis at home and has returned to work. But a transplant is her only hope of a full recovery.

Melanie has set up a blog about living with kidney disease and constantly thanks her sister for volunteering to help save her life. It is hoped an operation will be carried out this year. Go to