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Family funds dialysis research in mother’s memory

16 December 2022

After Lady Judith Solomon passed away last year, her husband Sir Harry Solomon and children decided they would like to set up an award to further research into kidney conditions. Lady Judith had been affected by kidney disease for many years after suffering from sepsis from a kidney disease while pregnant with her son Daniel. Eventually, after several years, her kidney function declined to below 10 per cent.  

Supported by Professor Cunningham

Lady Judith, who was 82 when she died, had decided not to undergo dialysis. Her family were particularly touched by the care she received under Professor John Cunningham and his team at the Royal Free Hospital in London in her final years. 

Her daughter Juliet explains, “She had been offered dialysis when her kidney function started to decline and also in the final months of her life. But it would have been a big decision to start dialysis at her age, and spend so much time in hospital. We respected her decision not to elect to have dialysis and the last few months of her life were spent as she wanted, at home. 

“We were touched by the compassion and kindness which Professor Cunningham showed her. He is very involved with Kidney Research UK as a Trustee, so we decided to work with the charity to found an award in her name. “  

The Soloman family

Supporting new initiatives

The family felt that information about dialysis and options for those who chose not to take up the treatment were lacking. Juliet says her mother was concerned about the side-effects, and so funding research that will focus on making dialysis more tolerable, improving outcomes and reducing anxiety associated with the treatment is one of the Solomon family’s aims.  

The award will fully fund a PhD student to study fistula health monitoring under Dr Yongman Chung at the University of Warwick. Juliet says, “The study will use ultrasound to find out whether there are problems during dialysis and hopefully catch them earlier. It’s a great project and it’s something which would hopefully prevent a lot of problems if it was done routinely around the country.”  

The second project, which the family will partially fund, is being run by Dr Ben Reynolds at the Royal Hospital for Children, Glasgow. He and his team are looking to develop virtual reality headsets so that children and their families can have a better understanding of home haemodialysis, and reduce anxiety about choosing that treatment option.  

Juliet says, “Finding out your child needs dialysis is a scary time for parents. The more information they’re given, the more they’ll be able to understand and accept it. This is an innovative way of handing power to the patients.” 

Lord and Lady Solomon
Lord and Lady Solomon

Thinking outside the box

Additional to the award, Juliet is also planning a novel way of fundraising for the charity. She is approaching celebrities for their pearls of wisdom, which she’ll turn into the Book of Nuggets. All proceeds from the sale of the book, which is hopefully due for publication in spring 2023, will go to Kidney Research UK. 

“I’m asking people to provide their own quotes about the meaning of life, or quotes that have inspired them. At the same time, I’m also encouraging them to donate to the charity. As a family, we are so impressed with the fantastic work that Kidney Research UK do.” 

What are the Solomon family’s hopes for kidney patients in the future, as a result of their funding? 

“Dialysis is a great treatment option that helps extend life, and we want to be able to fund research into ways that make it more comfortable for patients. There are side-effects and we really want patients to be given as much information as possible, and to ensure treatment is never forced upon them.  

“Mum had to be quite resilient to keep saying no. We’re also keen to help people like my mother who choose not to have dialysis, and make sure other treatment plans are made available to patients.” 

“We are incredibly proud to set up this award in my mother’s memory, and help make a difference.” 

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