Fingers crossed for Ken13! Fred’s annual kidneyversary music festival postponed due to lockdown
A 28-year old football and music fan hopes lockdown is lifted so he can host his annual one-night festival that celebrates the anniversary of his transplant – his kidneyversary.
Sports coach Fred Midgley holds the event for around 150 guests with marquees, DJs and professional sound and light systems.
The transplanted kidney changed his life when he was 16 years old and the party events have been held every year since, raising almost £10,000 for Kidney Research UK, as his way of saying thank you.
“My transplanted kidney got nicknamed Ken as a bit of a joke and me and my mates began annual Ken parties,” Fred said. “My friends are brilliant and have helped get me through all of this.”
The start of Ken festival
Starting out as a smallish event at his parent’s house, it quickly turned into the Ken festival, with a number each year to represent how many years since his transplant.
Fred, of Skipton, North Yorkshire, said: “The Ken12 event was re-designed as a socially distanced quiz so it was safe for us all to get together, but it had to be cancelled last minute when the country went into the second lockdown.
“It was pretty gutting. I’m now hoping lockdown is lifted so a proper Ken13 party can go ahead to celebrate 13 years of successful kidney transplant.”
Fred’s health began deteriorating when he was at secondary school and he felt tired all the time, often falling asleep after school.
After tests, doctors discovered his kidneys were not working properly and told him he would probably need a transplant in his teens.
"At 15 years old my kidney function went downhill rapidly and in just two weeks I became really ill. Before I knew it, I was on dialysis which was horrendous.
“It was the worst time of my life. I don’t ever want to go through that again. I’ve no idea how people do it for years. I only had one year and that was enough. It was a horrible time.”
Fred went from being a sporty teenager to not wanting to do anything. “It was so out of character and I hated being like it.”
He was performing well, playing football at academy level for Bradford City and Burnley, but once on dialysis, he had to give it all up. “I had to stop the thing I loved the most. That was really rubbish,” Fred said.
Switching the lightbulb back on
Despite missing a lot of school owing to ill health, Fred managed to get five GCSEs and at the age of 16 the family received the call they had been waiting for. In November 2008 he had his kidney transplant.
It was like somebody switched the lightbulb back on.
“I felt amazing. So much more alive and normal again. I had forgotten what normal was. The transplant effect was pretty much instant,” he said.
Fred went on to study a sport coaching degree at Leeds University, working as a sports coach since graduating, but his health condition has had a long-term impact on his wellbeing.
“I’m now a bit of an anxious person and I think a massive part of that is from what I’ve been through. The slightest twinge or ache and it becomes a worry of what if something is going wrong.
“However, I keep plugging away because once you get a transplant it’s a different life, much better than before. I’m so incredibly grateful.”
Raising awareness and fundraising for research
Fred’s parties are a chance to celebrate with friends as well as raise awareness of kidney disease and raise money for research.
“Research is so important to make lives better,” said Fred “I’d love it if kidneys could be specially grown for patients so there is no rejection.
“If research could make dialysis better for people that would make me really happy.”
If you've been inspired by Fred and his fundraising festival, find out more about how you can celebrate a kidneyversary.
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