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“Walking London’s Bridges to end kidney disease after my husband’s diagnosis”

11 June 2024

Joining our London Bridges Walk has become an annual tradition for Deb and her daughter, Tasha, from Haverhill in Suffolk, and they will be there again this summer alongside hundreds of people raising money for life-saving kidney research. 

Deb and Tasha will participate in the walk, which takes place on Sunday 14 July 2024, for the seventh consecutive year, having first joined in 2018 and walked a virtual event in 2020. 

Deb says: “We are looking forward to seeing everyone in July. We love the event and turning London purple to raise awareness of kidney disease. It’s amazing to chat to other people with experience of kidney disease and hear their stories. London is a beautiful city to walk around.” 

husband and wife taking a selfie with blur sky and city behine them
Deb and Riky

My husband’s diagnosis 

In 2016, Deb’s husband Riky discovered he had chronic kidney disease after having his urine tested. He was already at stage four and facing the imminent prospect of dialysis, with his kidney function at just 20%.  

Deb says: “Riky had regular check-ins with the renal team to preserve his kidney function for as long as possible and make decisions about treatment. He was given lots of advice about dietary and lifestyle changes which could prolong the life of his kidneys and took this onboard. Giving up diet coke and chocolate was a challenge! But the changes gave us another two years before dialysis. 

“We knew dialysis was inevitable and that it would be very restrictive, so we were fortunate that we had time to make plans before it was needed. We were able to travel to Mexico, China and New Zealand to have the experiences we’d always wanted to have.  

“Standing on the Great Wall of China and flying over a glacier are memories we’ll always cherish. Our trip around New Zealand in a camper van was amazing as it’s such a beautiful place. We crammed so much into our time because we knew it’d be extremely difficult to have these experiences while receiving dialysis.” 

Beginning dialysis

By 2019, Riky’s kidney function was so low that he had to begin dialysis.  

Deb says: “Initially he received peritoneal dialysis but that didn’t work for him, and he had to move to haemodialysis, visiting Cambridge Dialysis Unit three times a week, for four and a half hour sessions of treatment. That is very restrictive for us. 

“Riky’s health problems mean that unfortunately a transplant is not an option, so this is it now. There have been some horrible times, and it has affected us mentally, but we’ve come through. Dialysis is keeping him alive, so the alternative is so much worse. We try to just get on with it and focus on what we can do. 

“Riky’s not supposed be out in the sun because of the elevated risk of skin cancer, can’t go swimming and has restricted fluid intake so we’ve given up on going abroad for now, but we’ve tried to take trips in the UK instead. Riky loves steam trains so last year we went to York for a trip on the Flying Scotsman. We’re just living life as best we can.” 

Walking for Kidney Research UK 

Unfortunately, Riky will be unable to join Deb and their daughter Tasha on the London Bridges Walk because of limited mobility caused by his health problems. However, Deb and Tasha are determined to make a difference on behalf of the whole family, alongside friends who also have personal experience with kidney disease. 

Deb says: “We are so thankful for the work of Kidney Research UK and the team at Cambridge Dialysis Centre. We owe so much to the research and people who have treated Riky and given us more time together.  

“The dialysis unit he goes to is amazing. They really look after him and everyone knows each other. You build relationships with staff and other patients so it’s almost like a little social outing now. Everyone there understands what you’re going through more than anyone else can. Riky has also been able to access professional counselling, which was important. 

“When somebody in the family has kidney disease you suddenly learn so much stuff that you never wanted to know. It affects everyone and the whole family needs support. We feel it is important to do what we can to keep research moving forward and lessen the impact of the disease on people in the future. Joining the London Bridges Walk to raise funds and awareness for Kidney Research UK is one little way that we can do that.” 

Mum and daughter wearing their purple t-shirts holding medals
Deb and her daughter at a previous Bridges Walk
People wearing purple Kidney Research UK tshirts with their back to the camera

London Bridges Walk

Join Deb and Tash along with hundreds of other supporters at the London Bridges Walk.

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