Husband and wife to share kidney transplant joy at Peterborough charity walk
We're hosting our first ever Peterborough Cathedral Winter Walk in December and local residents Simon and Diane Froggitt are first in line to take part. The five-mile fundraising walk takes place on Sunday 3 December and will start and finish at the Cathedral, taking in the scenic surroundings of Nene Park.
Having received her husband Simon’s kidney in her successful transplant operation last year, Diane is raring to go.
“We want to do the walk to help find a cure for kidney disease,” Diane said. “It would change so many people’s lives – it’s not just the patient that’s affected by kidney disease, it’s the whole family, everyone around you.”
Kidney transplant was always a possibility
Diane had lived with the knowledge that she might need a kidney transplant ever since she was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease (PKD), at the age of 15. Her dad had the same hereditary condition, where cysts form on the kidneys. PKD can cause kidney failure, leaving people reliant on dialysis or a transplant to stay alive.
In 2022, Diane’s kidney function reached a critical point. “I was feeling very tired, I was still working full time but it was a real struggle to get through the day – I would just come home and sleep,” she explained. “I had itchy skin and a horrible taste in my mouth.”
Having a transplant before her kidneys completely failed would mean that Diane could avoid going on dialysis, which can be gruelling and restrictive. Simon turned out to be an even better match to donate his kidney than her sisters, and he didn’t hesitate.
A kidney match for the couple
“Diane’s everything to me,” Simon said. “We’ve been together for 28 years, so there was never any doubt that I’d help if I could.”
At the end of August last year, they had their respective operations at Addenbrookes Hospital and Diane received Simon’s kidney.
“The most emotional point for me was afterwards, hearing Diane was ok, that did bring me to tears,” Simon remembered.
Waking up from the operation was quite an ordeal, Diane recalled: “It was a bit of a shock because I hadn’t really thought about it too much beforehand. I found I had wires coming out of my neck and it was so hard to move and I was so reliant on the nurses.”
Thanks to excellent care from the Addenbrookes staff, the pair were back home with their children within a week, but they had to take it steady.
“It was hard at first, trying to go for a walk, shuffling along,” said Diane. “You become aware of how few benches there are when you need to sit down every five minutes. It took two-three months before we felt 100 per cent.”
A year on and no longer needing park benches for support, the pair are determined to put their best feet forward in support of the vital work carried out by Kidney Research UK, the national charity whose headquarters are in the heart of Peterborough.
Simon sees it as a way of giving something back. “For me it’s a personal thing, my gratitude to the surgeons, the nurses and everybody that looked after us, to have helped Diane to have a healthy life where she can carry on being part of the family and taking part and doing all the fun things that families do,” he said.
Motivated to support charity
Diane is hugely motivated by the research the charity is doing: “We don’t know if our children might need this help one day,” she said. “We’re hopeful for the future, which is why Kidney Research UK is so important to us.”
Marc Shaw, head of community fundraising at Kidney Research UK, leads the team that has been organising stallholders and entertainment to create a merry atmosphere for all the Winter Walk participants as they depart from Peterborough Cathedral – and on their triumphant return. He is delighted that Simon and Diane are taking part.
“We’re really excited to bring the kidney community together in our home town and raise funds for vital research,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for people to get to know fellow patients and their families, or even remember loved ones. An estimated 73,000 people in Cambridgeshire are living with kidney disease and 7.2 million people UK-wide. Our Winter Walk is the perfect way to kick off the festive season, and walk all over kidney disease to help lift the burden from families like Simon and Diane’s.”
Find out more
Anyone can register to take part, for just £5. Supporters who raise £50 or more receive a free Kidney Research UK beanie hat. Participants who sign up by 24 November will be entered into the draw to win a family ticket to watch The Wizard of Oz at The Cresset.
Are you feeling inspired?
Take a look at the challenge events we have on offer or pick your own event. Sign up to be part of #TeamKidney today and join us to make a difference to people living with kidney disease.