A 33-year-old man born with four kidneys is meeting with Manchester-based paediatric nephrologist and Wellcome Senior Research Fellow at The University of manchester Professor Rachel Lennon during his personal challenge to walk from Land’s End to John O’Groats to raise money for Kidney Research UK
Inspired by the late Sir Captain Tom, who raised £32.5 million for the NHS during the Covid-19 pandemic, Tom Goodwin, is 11 days into his unique personal challenge to raise awareness at a time when all charities are under fundraising pressure.
Tom’s fundraising target is £10,000, and he is meeting members of the kidney community as he walks the length of the UK adopting the moniker "Kidney Tom" as a tribute to the remarkable efforts of his fundraising hero. He is excited to meet paediatrician Rachel, as he knows that the treatment he received in his early years were crucial to his rude health today.
Rachel is Professor of nephrology at the University of Manchester and a consultant paediatric nephrologist at the Royal Manchester Children’s hospital. Her research group is based at the Wellcome Centre for Cell-Matrix Research. Rachel’s research has been supported by Kidney Research UK over a number of years. Together with her team she is investigating potential treatments for Alport syndrome through studying kidney organoids (mini kidneys made from Alport patients’ cells) as well as trying to prevent kidney damage in the disease membranous nephropathy. In 2017 she was awarded a much coveted Senior Research Fellowship from the Wellcome Trust , to help identify therapeutic targets to treat chronic kidney disease.
When he was nine months old, Tom received life changing treatment at Bristol Sick Children’s Hospital, where his unique condition was spotted and successfully treated by an NHS renal specialist.
"It was very distressing time for my parents," says Tom who was admitted to hospital suffering febrile convulsions. "After struggling for an initial diagnosis, a CT scan revealed that I was born with bilateral duplex kidneys - an extremely rare condition affecting fewer than 1 in 10,000 people.
"I was born with four kidneys rather than the usual two, and one of them on my left side was not fully formed, and causing the problem."
Tom’s rogue kidney was removed, and he was left with three functioning kidneys, which he has to this day. His parents were advised that Tom could be prone to UTIs and he had to take daily antibiotics as a child, which his parents dubbed "magic medicine".
"It was a very stressful period for my parents, who also had my two-year-old sister to look after, but thanks to the expert care provided by the NHS, I was successfully treated and have suffered no problems since. fundraising/kidneytom
I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the fantastic NHS team who provided my treatment
After the pandemic decimated the amount of money charities like Kidney Research UK were receiving from the public, Tom decided to create his own challenge.
"I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the fantastic NHS team who provided my treatment," says Tom. "Today, my bilateral duplex kidneys would be identified at birth due to advances in healthcare technology. Such recent improvements in renal care are only made possible thanks to funding via charities like Kidney Research UK and talented researchers like Sir Peter.
"As a result of the pandemic, the charity has lost 30 per cent of its funding. I’m determined to fundraise as much as possible for them.
Tom adds, "Worldwide, around one in nine people have chronic kidney disease, for which there is no cure. Here in the UK, 20 people develop kidney failure each day. Nearly 30,000 people need dialysis to survive and five people every week die while on the waiting list for a kidney.
"That’s unacceptable in 2021 and, as someone who has directly benefited from kidney research since 1989, I’m determined to raise awareness of the problem and to do what I can to ensure help reaches those in need."
To support Tom in his challenge and donate to Kidney Research UK, click here: https://www.justgiving.com/