Around three million people in the UK have kidney disease

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Jenny and David’s story

Jenny and David’s story

David was dianosed with a rare form of form of kidney disease, called Membranoproliferative Glomerulonephritis.

Jenny Griffiths, from Caldicot in Gwent, and her committee of friends have dedicated 10 years to raising funds for Kidney Research UK since her son David had a transplant in 2006.

David was 18 when tests revealed he had kidney problems after he was hospitalised with an unconnected severe bout of glandular fever.

For the next ten years he had regular tests but the kidney disease had little impact on his life.

It came as a great shock therefore, when, aged 28, he was told he would need a kidney transplant.

“We hadn’t anticipated it deteriorating to that extent,” says Jenny.

“At this point we learned that David had a rare form of kidney disease, called Membranoproliferative Glomerulonephritis (MPGN), also known as Dense Deposit Disease. His immune system had destroyed his kidneys.”

David and Jenny Griffiths

David’s mum, dad and two brothers all proved to be a good match to donate and at Jenny’s insistence, David received her kidney and the transplant was successful.

“The surgeon had explained very carefully that the kidney would probably only last up to ten years, because of how virulent David’s immune system was. So we went ahead knowing that that would happen."

After seven years, David was dealt a series of serious health setbacks in the course of a few months, including bacterial pneumonia.

This meant he had to stop taking the immunosuppressant medication he took to help quash the MPGN. The end result was that he lost the kidney.

David now juggles haemodialysis (which he does in hospital three times a week for up to five hours a day), working as a parts advisor for a car dealership, and life with his wife Ginny and young son Joel.

Being unable to dialyse at home due to health complications is restrictive and has a significant impact on his earning potential.

Meanwhile, the family are also dealing with Ginny having been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

Sadly, David’s family’s kidneys are no longer suitable for him to receive due to the type of antibodies now in his system.

A glimmer of hope instead lies in either the transplant list which David has been on for three years now, or the paired kidney programme.

With the paired programme, if one of David’s family is a good match for another recipient and their family member or friend is a good match for David, simultaneous transplants could take place.

“We’ve been warned the chances of finding a match are slim, but at least they’re in the programme,” says Jenny.

David says: “Life is not easy. I feel that research is important to find ways to control my disease so that I could live a more normal life and work and provide for my family.”

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