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Wigan man sky dives to raise money in memory of his dad

28 June 2021

A Wigan car body paintspray specialist is jumping out of a plane to raise money for research in memory of his inspirational dad who urged him to keep a positive mental attitude – whatever life throws at you.

Rick Johnson, 36, is sky diving for Kidney Research UK as he knows one day in the future, he will need treatment for polycystic kidney disease (PKD), the condition which took his dad Ian at the age of 65 and his grandfather at the age of 54.

Rick Johnson with his family
Rick Johnson with his family

Dad of two Rick says not enough is known about the kidneys, how to look after them or how drastic it can be when they go wrong, so he is not only jumping for charity, but also to raise awareness.

“I was diagnosed with PKD 10 years ago, and I want this disease to stop with me, It runs in my family but I don’t want my children to suffer,” Rick said.

“I’m doing this jump for my dad who attended dialysis three times a week, put up with so much pain and missed out on so much due to Ill health but stayed positive to the end. He was a fantastic dad to me, and I will love him always."

Dad was my inspiration

“My dad was my inspiration. He was ill for as long as I remember, so we couldn’t do the usual stuff dads do with their sons, like kick a ball round the local park, but he was always there for me. He was a dad in different ways. He was the person I looked up to in life."

“Kidney disease illness robbed me of the dad I should have had but he was a fighter right to the end. He taught me to approach life with a positive mental attitude and that’s been an important lesson that’s always stayed with me.”

Rick’s dad Ian died in October 2019 at the age of 65. His grandad also died of PKD in the 1980s.

The death of his much-loved dad made Rick decide to do something positive to raise money for charity, so he is jumping out of a plane in a tandem sky dive at Cochrane airfield in Lancaster and already has plans for a wing walk as his second fund raising event.

“Every day I feel pains, amongst other things, because of kidney disease. My kidney function has dropped, but for now thankfully, I don’t need treatment.

I'm jumping to beat kidney disease

“My jump is about beating this disease. For me it’s hereditary. Right now, there’s nothing to treat PKD apart from transplants and dialysis when the kidney function is ultra-low. I want to do my bit to make treatments better for the future.”

Rick, who is under the care of Salford Renal Unit, added: “Kidney disease goes under the radar. Hardly anyone seems to know about kidney health and how devastating it is when the kidneys go wrong. More money is needed for research to slow down or stop kidney disease all together.”

You can support Rick by visiting his Just Giving fundraising page. 

If you've been inspired, find out how to jump all over kidney disease by doing your own skydive.


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