Category Archives: Kidney Transplant

Walking NZ for Kidneys

My Dad calls me up and tells me he there are some special guests coming to stay at the B&B. Being my curious self, I wondered who it could be. While on a break from cycle touring, I was fortunate to meet Ros and Hugh Cole-Baker. They are traveling the length of New Zealand on the Te Araroa Trail to raise awareness for the need for more live kidney donors. Ros gave one of her kidneys to her husband Hugh October 2013 and have almost completed a challenge worth sharing.

The duo set off late September 2014 from Cape Reinga and have been walking and biking the length of New Zealand on the Te Araroa trail. During their visit in Wanaka, my Dad hosted them while the enjoyed local walks and rides around town. I Was fortunate to meet up with them for a hike up Mt Iron followed by an interview with the Otago Daily Times.

Rob Johnston & Ros Cole-Baker, supported by husband Hugh
Rob Johnston & Ros Cole-Baker, supported by husband Hugh
Walking NZ for Kidneys | Prevention – Support – Research
Walking NZ for Kidneys | Prevention – Support – Research

If you would like to find out more about Kidney Health New Zealand they are more than willing to answer any questions ranging from dialysis to transplants.

What is Kidney disease?

  • Your kidneys clean your blood by working as a filter to remove water and wastes from your body. Kidney disease damages these filters so they don’t do their job properly.
  • Kidney disease usually affects both kidneys and may also damage other parts of your body, such as your heart.
  • When enough of the filters are damaged, the body will fill up with excess wastes and water. This is called kidney failure. It can happen when you have kidney disease for a long period of time (chronic kidney disease).
  • Kidney failure is fatal if not treated by either dialysis or a kidney transplant.

The role of KHNZ:

  • To fund research into the prevention, early detection and cure of kidney disease.
  • Provide education and support in the recognition of the symptoms of kidney disease.
  • Provide resource information concerning the treatment and management of patients with kidney disease.
  • To promote the donation of kidneys and other organs and tissue for transplantation.
  • Liaise with and support patient Support Groups

It is becoming increasingly likely that anyone of us or family members will be in some way affected by Kidney disease. To learn about a donation to help with prevention, support and research please visit here.

3 years and counting! | Kidney donation success

It has been 3 years since my Dad received his new Kidney! A day worth celebrating because it represents so much to my family and I.

A couple of times a year my Dad will make the trip to Dunedin to have a checkup with the Nephrologist. Going by car each time seems a little bring, so this time both Mum and Dad decided to load their bikes to the car… Mum cycled the entire way from Wanaka totaling over 300km in 3 days! Dad has ridden much of that trip before riding as far as Middlemarch which is still an impressive 240km.

All too often people will take health for granted. It is a constant urge to maintain fitness, a balanced diet and well-being that keeps us all healthy. When we pay attention to what our body truly needs we move closer to an intrinsic balance. Move every day, eat & drink well and trust in your bodies ability to deliver. Dad and I are doing great.

It seems my family believe in this idea of a healthy lifestyle. The more km we clock up on our bikes the better we feel. Choose to take the bike more and the car less this Summer. Move more, sit less and keep your Kidneys healthy!

Bike vs Car                 

N.Z Living Kidney Donor Network is underway

Did you know that people lucky enough to survive the 4-5 year wait-list for a kidney, only 30% of them would receive one from a deceased doner? I was fortunate to attend a meeting recently, held by Kidney Health New Zealand. Ten keen kidney doners crossed paths in Christchurch and shared ideas on starting a Living Kidney Doner Network (LKDN).

• Helping to increase living kidney donations in New Zealand
• A support group to donors – mentor to those donating
• Educating people on personal stories
• Increasing financial support for live donors

Continued support for people involved in this life saving operation is very important to us. Providing the public with well informed information about donating and general kidney awareness is key here, because we are bound to someone who will be affected by renal disease.

We are still in the early stages of getting our project off the ground. If you have any suggestions regarding how we can make this opportunity better than it already is, please get in touch.

One year Transplant Anniversary

A year ago today my Dad and I were able to go through an operation that has changed our lives forever. What the surgeons and their team were able to do is quite extraordinary and has since given my Dad a new lease on life, in every sense. The new found energy, fitness and general well-being has helped him be more resourceful, healthier and ultimately happier. Mum and Dad are able to go on bike rides and enjoy their active lifestyle again like they used too.

Last week we designed and constructed a 6m long retaining wall which required a lot of digging and general grunt lifting everything into place. It makes me feel very proud and honored to have helped him feel the way he does now. It blows me away the improvements I have seen and I feel humbled to have made a difference.

As there is always a chance Rob’s immune system will reject the new Kidney, he will continue to take his medication every day for the rest of his life. It is also quite important to avoid periods of sun exposure as it can counter the usefulness of the drugs. The awareness and quality of our diets has always been pretty good and we continue to avoid foods which are loaded with preservatives and additives. Too much sodium in anyones diet cannot be a good thing and it is important that we give our Kidneys an easy work load to prolong their longevity.

It is pleasing to know that I have not noticed any physical limitations due to the operation. I continue to wear a helmet and spine jacket while snowboarding and do cross training, balancing exercises which give me a little piece of mind when I ride. The support from my Sister, Mum and those close to me means a great deal to me … bring on the next year!

Here is a photo of my most amazing and supportive parents!