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Cambridge dad cycles 85 kilometres in a day to say thanks for his daughter’s kidney transplants

21 June 2021

A family stepped in to support Tessa Impey after she was diagnosed with a rare kidney disease and then needed two kidney transplants.

Tessa’s dad Colin Worboys was the first to donate a kidney and when that failed 17 years later, her younger brother Joe, 34, became the second person in the family to give the gift of life.

Now, Colin is cycling 85 kilometres in a day to raise money in our #850CycleChallenge to say thanks for the research that made his daughter’s two kidney transplants possible.

Colin Worboys with Tessa and Joe
Colin Worboys with Tessa and Joe

Rare kidney disease

Tessa, 39, was diagnosed with Mesangiocapillary glomerulonephritis when she was 13 years old.

She had dialysis for two years but when it became clear she needed a transplant, in 1999, her dad donated a kidney, which restored her spark until she was in her early thirties.

Colin said: “One summer she started being ill with fluid retention. It all seemed so out of the blue, but we have since learned that is often how kidney disease is. She was 13."

“Tessa was found to have a rare autoimmune condition. We were told there are only a few people in the world with this condition.”

While studying for her GCSEs Tessa had to learn how to adjust to peritoneal dialysis sessions, which she had for two years.

Transplant from dad and then brother

“When it became clear she needed a transplant my wife, Louella and I were tested and I was really pleased to be a match,” Colin said.

In 1999, when Tessa was 17, the transplant surgery went ahead at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge and Tessa’s life was transformed.

“As a parent it was fantastic watching our daughter change almost overnight, we were so pleased.”

However, 17 years later in 2016, the transplanted kidney began to fail and stopped working.

Tessa’s younger brother Joe then 31, stepped in to donate a kidney which has been successful ever since. “Both are doing well. Touch wood,” Colin said.

Pedalling to raise money for research

Colin is now giving back to help others and to fund research which he knows Tessa may need in the future.

A regular but mostly summertime cyclist, he is pushing himself out of his comfort zone and has already raised more than £700.

Tessa has also completed her own #850StepChallenge by walking 8,500 steps a day at the stables where she keeps her horse Barbie.

Colin will be completing his challenge on July 16 with his son Joe and friends Brian and Sam. They will be cycling from Balsham in Cambridgeshire, taking an 85km course around Cambridgeshire and West Suffolk, which they hope will take five hours.

Find out how you can get involved in our #850Challenge.


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