In the summer of 2013, while playing with her big brother Ben on holiday in the US, Natalie (aged 9) had an accident on a hammock and knocked out two of her adult teeth. Following a frantic 70 mile dash to the nearest hospital, the two teeth were forced back in at the hospital without anaesthetic. At that moment, we thought that was the worst of it but just before we left the hospital the results of a standard blood test done on arrival came back. The American doctor treating her took us to one side and asked us if we were aware of any kidney problems. Natalie had never been ill and we thought it must be some mistake. He urged us to get her kidneys checked when back in the U.K.
Six months later after numerous tests and hospital visits, Natalie was diagnosed with nephronophthsis, an incredibly rare genetic disorder of the kidneys which affects children and causes the kidneys to start to fail from age six. The only treatment was a transplant and both Joanna and Chris were tested; with Chris being the best match. Natalie was monitored regularly to ensure that we were able to optimise the timing of the transplant to avoid dialysis.
In the run up to the operation in 2015, we decided to raise money for Kidneys for Life as a small thank you for all the amazing staff who had helped Natalie at the Manchester Childrens’ Hospital.
Natalie’s mum, Joanna, decided to run the Manchester 10km, furthest distance that she and all her friends, family and Astrazeneca work colleagues that took part had ever run!! They run the race every year since to raise additional donations.
Natalie’s dad, Chris and 15 of his colleagues from M&G Investments did the Three Peaks Challenge (it was the week before Natalie’s transplant and so Chris was only allowed to do one peak!). Chris also took on the challenge to run the London Marathon – training and running on that very hot day was gruelling – great achievement but never to be done again ????
Other events have included Chris’s bands gigs and the 50 year anniversary 50km cycle ride.
Natalie and her family have been truly humbled by the sponsorship received from friends and family and have raised over £70,000 to date.
Natalie had her transplant in October 2015 and has gone from strength to strength since. She regularly competes in the British Transplant Games and loves catching up with other competitors and supporters. She is now able to live a very normal teenage life!! She is now and will forever be very grateful to all surgeons, doctors and nurses that helped her manage her disease before her transplant and who post transplant ensure that she is fitting fit to ensure her amazing new kidney last as long as possible ????
Thanks to all!!! Natalie XX