"You have to find something to live for. For me, it’s making a positive impact on others."
Kudz Munongi, kidney patient and ambassador
Dialysis doesn’t stop for Christmas.
We're working to make transplanted kidneys last longer to keep people off dialysis.
Please support our Christmas fundraising campaign, and help transform treatments for people like Kudz whose kidneys have failed.
Kudz was 22 he was diagnosed with kidney failure. Five long years later, he got a double transplant. The kidneys took 14 days to kick in but he felt the difference immediately. He hoped that his new kidneys would last a long time. They lasted for 13 years.
Three years ago, Kudz started feeling unwell and last year his kidney function dropped to just 7%. He started dialysis, three times a week, on 2 December 2020. This ruined his family's Christmas plans. He had a dialysis session on Christmas Eve, but on Christmas day he still felt bad. On Christmas morning Kudz couldn’t wake up as early as he wanted to, to open presents with his daughter.
Kudz is back onto the transplant waiting list. He's holding his phone and waiting for the call.
Together we can keep people off dialysis for longer.
No one wants to spend hours on dialysis over the festive period, but sadly people like Kudz don’t have a choice.
Dialysis is tough on the body, on daily life and can be even more difficult at Christmas.
- Dialysis usually takes over four hours.
- The treatment is quite aggressive and patients can come off the machines feeling exhausted.
- People on dialysis have to follow a strict diet which can be especially hard over the festive period.
- Many foods on the Christmas table include phosphates such as turkey, cheese and nuts. Kidney patients can only have very small amounts of these and they have to take phosphate binder medication, to help stop their bodies absorbing too much.
- A dialysis diet has a strict fluid intake - often as little as one litre per day. This includes liquid in foods such as gravy and custard.
While dialysis keeps people alive, it makes an enormous impact on quality of life. We want to keep people off dialysis for longer. Our researchers are developing new ways to make kidney transplants last longer - read about Professor Steven Sack's research below.
How your donation supports brilliant research.
Supported by our funding, a team from the University of Cambridge have successfully altered the blood type on three deceased donor kidneys – a ground-breaking discovery that could have major implications for kidney patients, especially those from minority communities.
Professor Mike Nicholson and PhD student Serena MacMillan used a normothermic perfusion machine – a device which connects with a human kidney to pass oxygenated blood through the organ to better preserve it for future use – to flush blood infused with an enzyme through the deceased kidney. The enzyme acted like “molecular scissors” to remove the blood type markers that line the blood vessels of the kidney resulting in the organ being converted to the most common O type.
A kidney from someone with an A blood type cannot be transplanted to someone with a B blood type, nor the other way around. But changing the blood type to the universal O will allow more transplants to take place as O can be used for people with any blood group.
The discovery could be particularly impactful for people from ethnic minority communities who are more likely to have B type blood and with current low donation rates from these populations, there are simply not enough kidneys to go around.
"It’s very exciting to think about how this could potentially impact so many lives." Serena MacMillan
How your donations fund vital research
In 2020/21, we spent £3.225 million on research
Of all the money we raise, we invest 75 pence out of every pound directly into our research and awareness work, with 25 pence helping us to raise the next pound to sustain our work into the future.
Got a question?
If you have a question about our Christmas fundraising appeal or if you'd like to donate by phone, please call our supporter care team who would be happy to help.