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It’s hard to accept that my son will need dialysis and then a transplant

06 December 2023

“Brody and his brother insist on watching Christmas movies all year round” says their father, Chris O’Boyle. “Since the nights have started getting darker, they’ve been wanting to read ‘The Night Before Christmas’ before bed most evenings. Christmas in our house is a big event!” 

It was after another time of celebration – Brody’s first birthday party – that the family received the devastating news that Brody had stage two kidney disease. He had been poorly from birth, so dad Chris and mum Gillian knew that something was not quite right, but they were unprepared for the severity of Brody’s condition. 

Chris says: “It took a while to come to terms with and to accept that at some point he will need dialysis and then a transplant. We have been told to expect that it will happen before Brody reaches adulthood.”  

Little boy in hospital bed on children's ward
Brody during a stay in hospital

A future of tough treatments

Brody, who is now five years old, is resilient. Despite more time spent in hospital and further loss of kidney function, he has started school and is taking an active approach to life. Swimming, gymnastics, Gaelic football and drama, you name it, Brody is doing it.  

The reality though, is that Brody does have to take more care than other children. Monitoring fluid intake and eating a low salt, low sugar diet is necessary to slow the fall in his kidney function. He is facing a future of kidney disease treatment which, without more research, will remain incredibly tough. Gruelling, disruptive dialysis sessions, long transplantation waiting lists and transplants which only last an average of 20 years before another is needed. 

“The hardest thing about that is other people's perceptions. Even close family are under the impression that once he receives a transplant, it's like a miracle cure and that's the end of his journey. We still see the transplant as a treatment rather than a cure.” Chris, Brody's dad

Little boy holding a certificate in front of his lounge fireplace
Brody with his player of the week certificate

Transform treatments for children like Brody

Christmas is a special time of year for Brody and his family. Mum, Gillian says: “Because Brody goes through so much with his condition, more than most other kids of his age, we always try to make any opportunity for celebration that bit more special. Whether it’s Christmas or birthdays, we want it to be as magical as possible.” 

Chris says: “We do ease off on his diet for a day or two at Christmas so that he gets to enjoy the same foods that everyone else does, although that freedom doesn't last long.” 

Improvements in treatments for kidney disease are vital to ensure that Brody can enjoy life and Christmas time to the fullest as he gets older. 

At Kidney Research UK, we are funding crucial research into new and better treatments for the estimated 7.2 million people living with kidney disease in the UK. Help us to transform treatments and make transplants last forever.  

Research you're helping to fund for children like Brody

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