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The Andy Cole Fund

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Kidney disease can affect anyone – you, your dad, your best friend, your children… even football legends like Andy Cole.

When kidneys fail it can mean any or all of the following:

  • a lifetime of dialysis and medication
  • anxiety over finding a transplant organ and living with the constant fear that it could be rejected
  • the burden of adjusting to the daily uncertainty of a ‘new normal’
  • the dread of going ‘back to square one’

Now, more than ever, kidney patients feel vulnerable and at risk of infection from potentially deadly diseases.

All these concerns are mentally and physically exhausting, as well as life-changing. But now there is hope that together, as one team, we can change the outcome.

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What is the fund for?

Andy’s Fund will improve patients’ futures, but like in his playing days he needs your support – this time to fund research into transplants and mental health and wellbeing, areas he knows from experience need more attention.

As great as a transplant is, it’s not a cure and life post-transplant can be emotionally tough. Endless medication, the worry of organ rejection and mentally adjusting to this ‘new normal’ is exhausting. That’s why Andy set up the Andy Cole Fund to support patients’ wellbeing and find new ways of improving transplant treatments.

Kidney disease struck a shocked Andy suddenly after a virus, but it can be genetic or caused by conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Sometimes it goes undetected or can’t be treated effectively, which can lead to kidney failure.

How we can change the game

Transplants and mental wellbeing

“Living as a transplant patient, not knowing what’s around the corner, is not easy,” says Andy. People think a transplant is a cure, but most patients will need at least one more in their lifetime and will live with stress and anxiety that tomorrow could be the day their new kidney stops working. That’s why Kidney Research UK aims to create one transplant for life.

Andy recalls looking at his daily pile of medication in tears, thinking ‘for me to survive another day, this is what I’ve got to take. For the rest of my life. I’m not sure I can continue.” Patients rely on tablets to stop the body rejecting the kidney and that makes them prone to illness because their immune system is weaker. Everything from the common cold to coronavirus increases the feeling of significant vulnerability.

Our research aims to stop transplant rejection and making transplants possible for more people. This will save lives and make more organs available for transplant.

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The Andy Cole Fund will also fund research to improve kidney patients’ mental health and wellbeing, so there is more support for people experiencing kidney disease.

Having visited to a lab where he saw first-hand the difference research is making, Andy is fired up about the fund’s potential. “The work Kidney Research UK are doing is phenomenal, it was a mind-blowing experience. Together we can help push that work forward.”

Being involved in research is also helping Andy understand he’s not alone… that kidney patients are stronger together as one team.

“It’s hit home that I’m not the only kidney patient who feels like this. We’re one big family and more needs to be done to support the mental health side of the disease.”

Help us fund research into patients’ physical and mental health with donations to the Andy Cole Fund.

My toughest battle

Andy Cole tells his story, from iconic footballer to kidney transplant patient

Our research projects

Read about our past and current research projects and how they’re helping patients

Step up to the challenge

How you can get involved by hosting a charity football match or regular donations.

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