Dad didn’t want flowers wilting in a jar, he wanted to make life better for kidney patients
A Bedfordshire family has spoken of the importance of honouring their dad’s memory by setting up a tribute fund to raise money for kidney disease research.
Behind the smiles and jokes of fun-loving Harkishan Chauhan lay a serious message about making future care better for his children and grandchildren, said his daughter Seema Champaneri.
“Kidney disease runs in our family so Dad was adamant he didn’t want people wasting money on funeral flowers when every penny could go to research to help others,” she said.
“He wanted to make treatments better, make transplant last longer, dialysis less gruelling.”
Harkishan, who was 74 when he died at the height of the Covid lockdown, developed diabetes in his thirties.
Over the years his health deteriorated, leading to renal failure and emergency dialysis, which he had for five years before getting his long-awaited kidney transplant in 2014.
Our family is passionate about research
Meanwhile, his son Sanjay, 48, began suffering with his health in his thirties, just like his dad.
For Harkishan, dialysis improved his energy but for Sanjay the process was a terrible experience which he endured for five years before his first kidney transplant. When that kidney failed Sanjay was on dialysis for three years before the second transplant.
Sanjay’s second surgery gave him a new lease of life and the chance to start a family with his wife Charishma.
The couple now have three children under the age of four, including twins!
The whole family has always been passionate about supporting Kidney Research UK and on Harkishan’s 70th birthday, they raised a whopping £1,000, thanks to donations instead of gifts.
“Dad was adamant he didn’t want any birthday socks!” Seema said.
Grateful we had extra time with Dad
The loss of their jovial, fun-loving dad during such challenging times, has been hard.
“We couldn’t visit regularly or hug, but we made up for it with Facetime calls. At one point my daughter got really upset as she couldn’t pop to Grandad’s and hug him.
“However, despite the challenges, I want to be left feeling forever grateful for the extra time we had with Dad thanks to dialysis and the kidney transplant.
“Research gave us extra time with Dad and has meant my brother could have children – what a gift. So, it is right to pay that back by supporting with a tribute page. It was a no brainer. Paying forward kindness was in line with Dad’s values.”
The family, who live in Luton, dream of research advancements to make life better in every way for kidney patients.
From less side effects from the life-saving medication, to making dialysis quicker and easier, ensuring kidneys last longer and tackling the problem of kidney rejection.
Hope for better treatments
They also want to see advancement in the link between diabetes and kidney failure.
Harkishan managed his diabetes relatively well over the years with tablets and a controlled diet, however his deteriorating health also included a heart condition and other diabetes related medical conditions leading to his renal failure in 2009.
“Dad kept smiling through all his health issues, from his diabetes, kidney problems and even a triple heart bypass in his 50’s he always put on a brave face and always wanted to raise money for Kidney Research UK,” Seema said.
“Everybody loved Dad. He was a jolly character, always cracking jokes, always had something to say. In his own small way, from the corner of Bedfordshire, let’s hope his tribute fund can help make a difference.”
You can find out more about setting up a tribute fund in honour of a loved one.
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