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“Within 48 hours kidney disease had changed my life”

09 May 2024

On a Tuesday night in April 2019, Hiren Samgi, a 36-year-old business owner from Richmond, was enjoying a regular evening playing football with friends. Just two days later, he was in hospital having been diagnosed with kidney disease. 

Hiren says: “I knew something was not right as I’d be having severe headaches, so I went to the GP on Wednesday morning. I didn’t have any other obvious symptoms, but when he checked my blood pressure, it was sky high. I was told I needed to go to hospital, and it quickly became clear what was going on. It was a big jump to go from everything being normal to being diagnosed with kidney disease.” 

Man wearing a red jacket with female partner

Dialysis is cruel 

Hiren was told that his kidneys were very small, and that he would require dialysis while waiting on the transplant list. Doctors suspect he has a type of kidney disease called IgA nephropathy, although this has not been confirmed as a biopsy hasn’t been possible. 

Hiren says: “There was no point in doing a biopsy because my haemoglobin was low, and any bleeding could have led to me needing a blood transfusion. It was far more important to avoid that, than to find out the cause of my kidney disease.” 

By April 2020, Hiren had begun haemodialysis to treat his kidney failure, and says: “Dialysis is cruel. People say it’s four hours a day, three times a week, but I personally say it’s the whole day. When you arrive, you aren’t connected to the machine straight away and then when you go home, you’re exhausted. It’s tough. You have to take it though because you have no other option. 

“I was lucky that I own a dry cleaning and tailoring business, with my brother, Sumit, called Stitch N Fix. I still managed to do quite a lot of work around my dialysis, and Sumit was able to support in making sure we didn’t lose income. It would’ve been very tricky to do a nine to five job.” 

Family support was vital 

It was eighteen challenging months receiving dialysis before, in November 2021, Hiren got a call at 9pm one night to say a kidney had become available from a deceased donor. Several friends and family members had put themselves forward to be living donors during this time, but sadly none worked out. 

Hiren says: “My younger brother was a match to begin with but, just a week before our transplant, our final test results meant we couldn’t go ahead. That also ruled out other family members from donating. 

“I had a lot of support from my family. I’m very fortunate to have my wife, my two brothers, my mum and dad, and everyone around me. That made my time on dialysis a bit easier. If I was on my own, it would have been a different story. 

“The transplanted kidney I eventually received started working straight away and I haven’t had any setbacks. I’m very, very lucky. One positive from all of this is that I appreciate the small things in life now. I try to stay healthy and encourage friends and family to do the same because it all counts.” 

I wish I’d been diagnosed sooner 

Receiving an earlier diagnosis can prevent patients from ‘crash-landing’ into kidney disease and requiring treatment, such as dialysis, within a short space of time, without the ability to prepare practically, mentally and physically for its effects.  

Hiren says: “I wish that I’d had my blood pressure checked just once, five years before I was diagnosed and maybe the outcome would have been different. It’s important people are educated about checking their health. 

“I want to say a big thank you to Kidney Research UK for the tremendous job they do. I think diagnosing kidney disease earlier provides a lot more options for patients. At the end stage, like me, there was not much we could do. 

“Thankfully, my life is 90% back to normal since my transplant. I try to stay as healthy as possible and even raise money for Kidney Research UK. My brother and I sell Christmas trees each year and donate 25% of the profits. Last year we raised £450.” 

Family picture
Hiren Samgi with his family

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