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Kidney patient brings banking giant UBS onto the Andy Cole team

03 December 2020

Kidney Research UK has welcomed global financial services firm UBS as the first corporate supporter of the Andy Cole Fund, helping to fund research into kidney disease. Legendary footballer Andy Cole launched the fund in May 2020, five years after his kidneys completely failed.  

Spurred on by kidney patient Sarah Viner, co-chair of the inclusive staff network Ability Awareness at UBS, the firm decided to join Andy Cole’s First XI – the special club of 11 businesses forming the backbone of the fund through sponsorship. 

Company commitment

The announcement comes as UBS prepares to mark the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3 December by running a programme of virtual activities for staff. Andy has been impressed by the firm’s commitment to supporting people with disabilities and health conditions.

“One reason I set up the Andy Cole Fund was because people just don’t understand how hard it can be living with kidney disease,” said Andy. “It’s a hidden condition. Often you wouldn’t know what someone is going through just by looking at them. I’ve found it really tough and I’m hoping we can make it so much better for others, by helping scientists to work out how to improve transplants and patients’ mental health. I’m so happy that UBS are joining my team - their sponsorship will help us change the game for kidney patients.”

Sarah Viner
Sarah Viner, UBS employee who has had kidney disease for 30 years.

Great employer

Sarah, who has worked in the London office of UBS since 1987, has had kidney disease for almost 30 years, and fortunately received a kidney transplant in 2001.  

"My kidneys shut down in the January and I needed dialysis, but was the lucky recipient of 'Kevin the Kidney' in September 2001,” she explained.Without valuable research to support our NHS team I would not be here today.   

UBS has been there for me throughout my journey and continues to give me access to the support I need at work. Health, wellbeing, feeling cared for and included are important elements of our Diversity & Inclusion employee networks, and we’re delighted to partner with Kidney Research UK and the Andy Cole Fund. Having Andy share his journey with us will be a great way to raise awareness, share the message and show support!"  

Marc Stowell, executive director of income generation for Kidney Research UK said: “This is a special partnership between former international footballer Andy, leading global financial services company UBS, and the largest kidney research charity in the UK. Together, we will increase awareness of kidney disease and the Andy Cole Fund across the globe and make a huge difference to people’s lives through groundbreaking research. We are very excited to bring UBS on board.” 

Will your business join the First XI?

If, like Sarah, you think your business or your employer would like to join the Andy Cole Fund First XI as a sponsor, please contact for more details. Places in this exclusive club are going fast. 

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