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Shocking That Nothing Has Changed In 20 Years – Kidney Research UK –

I struggled mentally and physically

Kathryn was just 13 years old when she was rushed into Great Ormond Street hospital with crippling stomach and joint pain. Her family had received a call from her doctor to say recent blood tests showed signs of kidney failure, and it turned out that the rash she had noticed the previous autumn was a symptom of IgA vasculitis. Her kidneys had failed, and immediate dialysis and plasma exchange were necessary.  

Kathryn says: “It came from nowhere but in the space of five months it caused my kidneys to completely fail which was a real shock. It massively changed my life. I missed a whole year of school in year eight. At that time, there was no social media, we had no mobile phones and I lived in a little village, so I lost touch with a lot of friends and that is really difficult when you’re 13 years old.” 

Treatment restored Kathryn’s kidney function to around 40%, but the disease continued to have a huge impact. She says: “I struggled physically and mentally. Having the treatments, dialysis and being hooked up to those machines was a lot to take in. I was on a high dose of steroids, put on weight and couldn’t fit in my clothes, which made me self-conscious. It really knocked my confidence.” 

Knowing she would one day need a transplant, Kathryn tried to life her live with as much freedom as possible. Passing her GCSEs, A Levels and graduating university in Sheffield were huge achievements.