School boys raise money for Tanya who has end stage kidney disease after taking just one prescribed anti reflux and nausea tablet.
Tanya La Porta was the life and soul of parties, a ray of light, who friends say lit up a room every time she walked in.
Full of fun, nobody could have predicted that her life would change so dramatically, when she took just one anti-reflux and nausea tablet.
Tanya suffered a rare complication of kidney failure and has gone from a vibrant, healthy mum to requiring hospital dialysis, from which she suffers terrible side effects.
Her family have been forced to adjust to a new normal and watch helplessly as they wait for a suitable kidney donor to give Tanya a chance of a better quality of life.
Desperate to help and inspired by his mum, 16-year-old Ethan La Porta, decided to do something positive.
After training and planning the route during lockdown, Ethan and his friends Dino Gallone, Dom Pritchard and Luca Cinquini-Steel cycled from Northamptonshire to Skegness to raise more than £2,640 plus £436 gift aid for Kidney Research UK in a successful 200-mile round trip.
Tanya’s friend, Cathy Gallone, said: “They are only 16 and were supposed to sit their GCSEs this summer. We were a bit worried when they first came up with the Skegness idea, but once we saw how prepared they were, training, mapping out the route mainly on cycle paths, we knew we had to let them get out there and do it.
“We are all so proud of them, such a positive achievement.
“We have all watched Tanya’s life become so different. She is a bundle of fun, a big character who lights up a room. It has broken our hearts to see how much this has changed their lives.”
Tanya has been really poorly for three years caused by just one prescription pill given as an anti-sickness remedy. She took the first one and had a horrendous reaction and was in hospital for weeks recovering.
Tanya reflects on the sliding door moment that changed her life. “I’ve now been living with end stage kidney failure for over two and a half years. All due to an allergic reaction to one tablet! Whoever reads the small print when taking medicine? Truly scary! My hope now lies with a kidney transplant which is hopefully at the end of a very long and dark tunnel.
“Life waiting for a transplant goes around in a holding pattern praying for the time I will be called in to land.
“Life on dialysis is tough. I undertake dialysis in four hour sessions, three times per week. It sounds such an easy thing to say, but in reality, dialysis is both physically and mentally exhausting and completely wipes me out for the rest of the day.
“There is some respite for a few hours the day after dialysis before toxins start building again and the nausea, headaches and extreme leg cramps start again.
“A bucket load of tablets certainly help take the edge of this, but coupled with a fluid cap of 800ml a day and restricted diet means I remain mainly housebound, until the next lifesaving dialysis session and the holding pattern starts again.
“So, when the boys told me they were planning this adventure to raise money and awareness of kidney disease I was both humbled and extremely proud of each and every one of them. I will never forget the joy of seeing them cross the finish line. It has provided me with a real injection of positivity and hope.
“I cannot thank them and their amazing families enough – they truly have gone the extra 200 miles!
“I must also thank and am so grateful for the amazing NHS medical support I receive – they are the true unsung heroes that are keeping every dialysis patient alive.”
The four boys who took on the cycling challenge have grown up together in their teenager years and were always good friends, but the bike ride has brought them close together as it is a cause close to all of their hearts, Tanya’s friend Cathy said.
“They are all sporty, so being in lockdown was driving them stir crazy. As soon as they could, they all went out individually on bike rides and then joined up in pairs which is when they came up with the idea to do a long-haul bike ride for charity for Tanya.”
The ride took them more than eight hours on the way there. They had a day in Skegness to rest and then came back the day after.
Cathy said: “They are lovely boys, we have all been touched by their kindness. We have been in floods of tears seeing what they’ve achieved.
“I think they have got the bug for this, but it is fair to say they need to rest from the saddle for a while before doing another challenge like this again!”
The 16-year-olds from Northamptonshire and Warwickshire are pals from attending Rugby School and say Kidney Research UK was an easy choice as they are all very aware of the strains it has brought on Ethan and his family.
To donate, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/bikerboysontour.
Marc Shaw, Head of Community and Events at Kidney Research UK, said: “Dino, Ethan, Dom and Luca are absolutely amazing for what they have achieved with their charity bike ride and should be extremely proud. Events like this inspirational cycle ride help fund vital research to develop better treatments for people affected by kidney disease and, ultimately, cures. Thanks boys!”
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