A global campaign to raise awareness of kidney disease has won the backing of Sheffield Hospitals Charity.
Kidney doctors and patients from the city’s Northern General Hospital are joining forces for a series of events to mark World Kidney Day, including city centre blood pressure checks and hospital stalls sharing tips on how to stave off disease.
Charity bosses say the campaign is an important chance to raise awareness of the help hospitals that it supports offer to people living with kidney disease, plus the efforts of its fundraisers to raise vital cash to enhance patient services in Sheffield.
Those supporters include 31-year-old dialysis patient Sam Blackburn who has raised more than £15,000 for the charity having spent his entire life visiting the city’s hospitals.
Sam said: “I was born with chronic renal failure. My right kidney was removed fully and the left was partially removed when I was just nine months old. But that single half kidney managed without any medical intervention, apart from medication, for 21 years.
“I then went on dialysis before a donor kidney was found for me. The kidney was compatible and for nine years I lived a normal life. But kidneys don’t last forever so I’m currently back on the transplant waiting list.
“Through the years the staff at the Northern General Hospital have been incredible. They’re like an extended family. They make fun of me when I go in and tell me I spend more time in there than they do! I’m an active fundraiser as they’ve made me feel at ease during my life. It’s time to give them something back.”
Consultant Dr Arif Khwaja has been treating local kidney patients for more than a decade, arriving at the Northern General Hospital’s Sheffield Kidney Institute in 2004.
Dr Khwaja said: “It’s important people understand the importance of our kidneys and the changes we can make to help reduce the risk of developing kidney problems.” World Kidney Day on Thursday March 9 is an annual global awareness and education event. This year’s theme is obesity.