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Rob Blagden

Rob's Story

Rob Blagden from Gloucester is taking part in his first ever half marathon this year in support of PKD Charity following a kidney transplant in 2015.

Here, Rob tells us about his transplant experience and why he chose to take on this fundraising challenge to support PKD Charity:

 “To start at the beginning, I had a routine medical at work in 2002 which highlighted very high blood pressure. Doctors spent 4 years trying to keep my blood pressure under control and eventually in around 2007 I was sent for an ultrasound to see if my kidneys were ok. They found lots of cysts on my kidneys and I was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease.

Seven years later, in 2014, I had both my kidney's removed and lived a year without any kidneys, which was hard and involved dialysis 5 times a week and even that wasn't really enough.

I got the call to say a kidney was on offer from the national transplant waiting list and that I was first in line to have it, provided all my blood tests and health checks were on target. We'd been waiting three and a half years for 'the call'.

On the day of the transplant, we got to Southmead Hospital in Bristol at 7am (thanks to my parents for getting up early to take us down) and went through a series of tests - this took a good 6 hours. Eventually all tests came back ok so I was good to proceed with the transplant operation.

The kidney was up on the ward when I was due to go for my operation so they gave it to me to carry down to theatre.

Following my transplant, I stayed in hospital for 7 days so that doctors could monitor the kidney function but it seemed to start working almost straight away. Others on the ward (there were seven transplants that week) seemed to have to wait several days for kidneys to start working so my kidney was obviously special!

The kidney was from a 20-year-old - our major thought once offered the kidney was for the family and friends of such a young person who had died - I felt very privileged that they were willing to agree to donation in the midst of their shock and grief. One day we'll write a letter and pass it to the family via the hospital to say a huge thank you.

The PKD Charity gave me lots of support, advice and encouragement throughout my illness and I know my children Joy & Jake are at risk of the disease as it is hereditary. I'm therefore keen to support the brilliant work of the charity. 

In lockdown I had to shield as I am on immunosuppressant drugs to protect my transplant, I started walking late at night to avoid being close to people and eventually in May 2021 started to run with the Health & Hustle group that run Couch to 5k from the local Gloucestershire CCG HQ. I never would have thought I could run, but with the support of others I have succeeded. Now I'm running 5K a few times and week - it's great for my physical and mental health.

A few years ago, my stepson Mike ran the London Marathon for PKD and raised a lot of money - so I thought now I can run, why not me. I decided to challenge myself to raise money, hence the Half and 10K runs I've planned.

I’m doing a number of runs this year after starting running for the first time ever in 2021. My first run is the Tewkesbury Half and then I’m also going on to do the Gloucester 10K and Cheltenham 10K.

My amazing family are going to support me, my son and stepsons Jake, Andy and Mike will run the Tewkesbury Half Marathon with me. They are also going to run the Cheltenham 10K with me, along with my daughter and daughter-in-law, Joy and Kay - so there will be a group of us in our PKD Charity t-shirts and we're looking forward to a family photo with our medals at the end."

Read More

Read more about Rob’s story on his blog here:

You can support Rob’s fundraising by visiting his fundraising page: 

Inspired by Rob’s challenge?

We couldn’t provide the support that we do to anyone affected by polycystic kidney disease without awesome fundraisers like Rob. If you've been inspired by his challenge and would like to take on your own fundraising to support PKD Charity then please get in touch, we'd love to hear from you. Let us know by emailing