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Who's Your Kidney Hero?

For World Kidney Day this year, alongside sharing crucial kidney facts and statistics, we're celebrating the unsung heroes who've been with us through thick and thin. 

Whether your kidney Hero is a friend, family member, healthcare professional, a life-saving donor, or even a beloved pet, we'd love to hear your stories of the people who've made a real difference in your kidney journey. After all, heroes come in all shapes and sizes, as PKD patient's Asif and Martin testify.  

Asif's Story

"Living with Polycystic Kidney Disease has presented me with numerous challenges over the years. Since my diagnosis at 14, it's been a journey marked by pain, uncertainty, and overwhelming fatigue. The loss of my mother and sibling to PKD added to this burden.

Despite my best efforts to maintain an active lifestyle, PKD symptoms eventually caught up with me in my 40s. Chronic pain, sickness, and frequent infections became the norm. Eventually, I found myself at Bromley Hospital for hemodialysis, a process that not only consumed around two hours of travel time but also attached me to a machine for about four hours each session. It was an exhausting routine, made even more challenging by the uncertainty of when I'd be eligible for a transplant due to the need for surgery to remove my enlarged, infection-prone kidneys.

In this struggle, I found a beacon of support in my employer, who I regard as my "Kidney Hero." Their unwavering understanding and flexibility have been a lifeline for me. From accommodating my treatment schedule to regularly checking in on my well-being, their support has been instrumental in helping me navigate this difficult chapter of my life.

Managing the demanding medical schedule was no easy feat, especially when combined with the responsibilities of my full-time job as a business consultant, taking care of my son, and maintaining the household. Dialysis alone took up around six to seven hours of my time every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

And then, on January 30, 2024, I got “The Call” and was lucky enough to receive a new kidney. Now, as I focus on recuperating from the procedure, I am filled with gratitude for the donor, the backing of my employer and the support of the community in the small village I live in, giving me hope and strength to face whatever lies ahead.” 

Martin's Story

"I consider myself incredibly fortunate despite life's onslaught of health battles—PKD, kidney failure, cancer, brain surgery—I've faced them all. Yet, through it all, I've clung to unwavering positivity that defies the odds.

My journey with Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) began in 1992, when stomach pains led to a life-altering diagnosis. Over the years, my kidney function declined steadily, prompting doctors to urge a transplant by 2013. While my dear wife, Jo, offered to donate, fate had a different plan.

Enter Alex—my unexpected kidney hero, my wife's great-niece from Birmingham. Despite seeing each other infrequently, mainly at family gatherings, Alex didn't hesitate upon learning of my plight.  A busy senior nurse with her own demanding job, she saw donating her kidney as the most natural thing in the world. "Why wouldn't I?" she'd say, embodying a selflessness that humbles me to this day. She was only 32, and I was 59 at the time.

The journey from her decision to the operating table was marked by intense screening and anticipation. But on that fateful day in October 2016, just before her 33rd birthday, Alex gave me the gift of life.

While Alex swiftly resumed her nursing duties after a brief hospital stay, my recovery was longer. Yet, each passing day brought renewed vigor thanks to Alex's gift. I regained my health, now with good kidney function and no need for blood pressure medication.

We celebrated her selflessness with a surprise party, coinciding with my 60th birthday. Over time, I witnessed Alex's life blossom—welcoming her first baby, rising to Assistant Director of Nursing for Coventry & Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust, and earning an MBA. Through it all, her courage and boundless love continued to inspire.

In the end, I owe my life to Alex's unwavering support and selflessness. Without her, I wouldn't be here today, and for that, I am eternally grateful."

Nominate your kidney Hero 

Nominate your Kidney Hero, and they will be entered to win our World Kidney Day award. Simply share a brief outline of your story and the reasons for your nomination on your Facebook, Instagram, or X (formerly Twitter) pages or Stories. Download the My Kidney Hero graphic for adding to your nomination post. 

Remember to tag @kidneydayUK, @pkdcharity and #MyKidneyHero. Submissions close on March 11th at midnight, and the winning hero will be announced on March 14th.

 Other ways to get involved this World Kidney Day.

 

 

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