Kate Lawless was given the gift of life by her mother when she needed a kidney transplant after suffering renal failure. Inspired by the nurses and surgeons who looked after her, the 35-year-old Care of Churches administrator has mobilised a team of runners to take part in Kidney Wales’ fundraising 10k this Sunday, September 3.
Here’s her story.
“For as long as I can remember I’ve always had kidney disease.
My first real memory of it impacting my life was missing the Year 3 Juniors ice skating party, having been hospitalised with an infection. Years later it also meant my darling son Dylan, now a teenager, was born terribly premature and will forever be severely disabled because of it.
Having suffered from kidney disease since infancy, I always knew a time would come when my body would fail me. And that happened two years ago when I entered stage 5 kidney disease and began dialysis treatment in October 2015. Unfortunately, this was not successful and so my brilliant team at Cardiff University Hospital started the process of testing potential matches for a kidney transplant.
Within a few months, I received a phone call to say my mother Jill was almost a perfect match. In honesty, the news was bitter sweet. Without her most generous gift, I would certainly not be here today. But it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to agree to – allowing my mother to undergo an unnecessary and life-threatening operation in order to save my life.
Watching my mum being wheeled away to theatre some four months later was one of the worst moments of my life. She and my father Peter, for his unfaltering care of us after surgery, are heroes.
The days that followed were incredibly tough both mentally and physically. It was only with the support of the amazing hospital staff, friends, colleagues and family that I made it through some very difficult post-operative months.
A year later and life has not been without its challenges. My new kidney whom I named Keith, is stubborn and unruly (some may say like its new owner) and is not entirely doing the job it was recruited to do! Sometimes expectation versus reality becomes a difficult pill to swallow. The truth is I’m better than I was, maybe not as well as I hoped.
A transplant is not without its pitfalls. It is not the miracle cure that people assume, and is only another form of treatment for sufferers. I know Keith will one day fail and it will be time to start the process all over again.”
- Having spent my 34th and 35th birthday in hospital, I decided to make a “35 and Alive” list, and running the Cardiff 10k was on there. I signed up with trepidation, because I’d struggle to run a bath, never mind 6.2 miles. I happened to mention it when I got to the office and was amazed at my colleagues’ camaraderie and team spirit. And so, on September 3rd, a team from the Diocesan Office along with my family and friends will be taking part in the race to raise money for Kidney Wales.
- The foundation was set up in 1967 and aims to support patients and families suffering from kidney disease. It also promotes excellence in renal research, care and education, along with investing funds in new services, facilities and equipment as part of an ongoing programme. Every day, the gift of life gives patients the second chance they desperately want, but not all patients are lucky enough to receive a transplant. People do die waiting for organs, so the Kidney Wales Foundation continues to work to find the best treatments and support people like the Nephrology Transplant team in UHW, to whom I owe my life.
If you would like to donate funds our team page can be found here:
- Thank you to all those who supported the Afternoon Tea event we held in Llandaff Cathedral in July as part of our fundraising – we raised an amazing £500.