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Boy steps into Christmas to raise vital funds for kidney research

21 December 2021

Warrington mum Claire Smith and her seven-year-old son Will are embarking on an exciting challenge this Christmas to raise vital funds for charity. Walking 8,500 steps a day, as part of the Step into Christmas challenge, throughout December to represent the 850 million people worldwide living with kidney disease, Will and Claire will be raising money for Kidney Research UK to help fund research into improving treatments.

Will Smith
Will Smith

Will was diagnosed over the summer with Berger’s Disease and Henoch-Schonlein Purpura disorder, both of which are forms of chronic kidney disease. The diagnosis came as a complete shock to the family, after Will felt unwell, doctors discovered his kidneys had started to bleed which led to a stay at hospital and subsequent tests confirmed his diagnosis.

Living with a new reality

Both mum and son have had to adapt to the new reality of living with kidney disease. While Will’s condition is currently stable, he has had to make frequent visits to hospital whenever his kidneys begin to bleed as a result of contracting a mild cold or cough. More intensive treatment may be on the horizon if his kidneys going into failure.

Claire Smith, Will’s mum said: “Hearing that your son has been diagnosed with a serious and long-term condition like kidney disease is a particularly daunting experience. However, with the love and support of our family and friends, along with the dedication of medical professionals, Will and I are living each day to the full. Looking to the future, we don’t know what might happen. We hope that treatments have advanced by the time Will needs them. Supporting and raising money for Kidney Research UK is a step in the right direction in advancing future treatments and giving hope to thousands of kidney patients like Will.”

Will is currently at the very start of his journey with kidney disease. His conditions will continue to damage his kidneys throughout his life, potentially leading to dialysis and even transplant. There is no timescale on the level of deterioration and when or even if Will’s kidneys will fail. The family are hoping that investing in research now will deliver a significantly better future for Will.

Helping to fund crucial research with step challenge

Marc Shaw, head of community and events at Kidney Research UK said: “Patients with kidney disease are well aware that they face a life of difficult treatments without a cure. Dialysis and transplants are far from straightforward and are not permanent solutions. Research needs to transform these treatments and deliver life changing outcomes for kidney patients. Be taking on our Step into Christmas challenge our supporters like Will and Claire are helping us further the crucial research and developments that make living with kidney disease easier for everyone.

“With three million people in the UK currently living with kidney disease and without a cure, the need for more research into transformative and lifechanging treatments has never been higher. Every day, 20 people in the UK develop kidney failure and investing in core research could prevent Will from becoming one of them.”

Supporting Will

To support Will and Claire over December you can visit

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