Raising Kidney Disease Awareness at My Workplace: “Charity of the Year” Nomination

Raising Kidney Disease Awareness at My Workplace: “Charity of the Year” Nomination
Raising Kidney Disease Awareness at my corporate office

Hey There! 😀

Today, I wanted to share how I sent out an office wide email to 700 personnel with an extract of my life’s story about living and working on dialysis since 2020 along with my general Chronic Kidney Disease story. It sounds absolutely bonkers, I know, but I did it in a desperate attempt to win the “Charity of the Year” nomination for "The British Kidney Patient Association” aka “Kidney Care UK”.

In my corporate office, as part of their corporate social responsibility pledge, a single charity is voted for by the staff for which all charitable fundraising are funneled into for the regional office. Rather shamefully, it was only when I returned to the office after starting dialysis, did I notice these emails relating to the fundraising and volunteering opportunities in support for the then voted children’s cancer charity. Before kidney failure, in the endless daily emails and deadlines, I barely registered these notifications, but it’s funny how our perspective and lens with which we look through the world changes when we go through something as deeply life altering as kidney failure.

It was at the end of the financial year end, that it was announced that over £4500 had been raised for the local charity over the year, which was further matched by the company, totalling a staggering £9000 in funds raised. I was astounded by the figure. And that got me thinking…

About 1 year into dialysis, I had begun to see the value in opening up about my chronic kidney disease and life on dialysis with my friends, co-workers and even strangers. I, personally, found it liberating and it helped me to accept the situation I was facing and connect with others who were also struggling with the disease. And an extension of this was trying to fundraise and raise awareness of the disease, organ donation and generally what life is like on dialysis as a young person!

I was already planning a stall at my local summer fayre selling baked goods but this didn’t really pan out due to the fayre being cancelled! So, the opportunity to nominate a charity, perhaps a kidney charity may I add, was one that I couldn’t pass up. I’m not going to lie, it is one thing to tell a co-worker or a manager in your immediate engagement team but to send an email with a condensed couple paragraphs about your life story to the entire office was bloody terrifying. However, I knew it was for a good cause and no harm could possibly come from it. If people’s perception of me changed for the worse, I would say that said more about them than me. Ultimately, for all the awkward embarrassment that it is worth, I would be elevating my chances for people to vote for my charity, as well as, at the very bare minimum get people to register that kidney disease even exists!

So here it is, I have attached a copy of my email that I sent out to over 700 people. It took me over 10 minutes to click send, I really felt the sweat on the back of my neck. 😅

Hi Everyone,
My nominated charity, THE BRITISH KIDNEY PATIENT ASSOCIATION aka Kidney Care UK has been put through to the staff vote for FY24 Charities shortlist!
This charity is very closely aligned to my personal life and has made a big impact on my quality of living. For those who have worked with me, know that I have been waiting on the national transplant list for a new kidney for the last 2.5 years, having my kidneys fail at the height of the pandemic at the age of 23. I now continue to work and receive home dialysis (9hrs) treatment every day.
Kidney Care UK is the largest patient focused UK charity for individuals with kidney disease, whether it’s financial aid or counselling. However, to me it will always be the charity that spearheaded the Young Adult Kidney Group which focuses on supporting young adults with kidney disease (18 to 30). I was lucky enough to attend their residential weekend last year. This was my first time meeting other young people with kidney disease and dialyse away from home. Kidney Disease/Dialysis/Transplantation is a widely misunderstood and hidden disease despite 20 people everyday are diagnosed with kidney failure, where there is no cure, and is commonly associated with end of life. With your support, I hope we are able to increase awareness on this hidden and isolating disease.

If you are interested, on the impact of the YAKG weekend please watch the video below:

Here’s a spoiler, only 50% of those addressed OPENED the email and less than half read more than 60 seconds of the email. I am not sure whether I feel relieved or disheartened by this but if anything it shows that putting your story out there doesn’t always have to be scary because I’d say 85% of the time, no one is listening! Nevertheless, I am so grateful for the people who did open it and I hope I inspired them to vote for my cause. I’ve become more passionate about raising awareness of kidney disease in young people especially, highlighting the hardships and the hidden challenges that we face.

And, rather controversially, how the impacts of this frankly common disease that is incurable is something that does not get nearly as much recognition as Cancer or many other life threatening disease and long term illnesses. I wish I could take away the stigma and taboo surrounding kidney disease, organ transplantation and dialysis. We may have this life saving therapy called dialysis but life is not easy! Life is not the same whether on dialysis or even post transplant.

Co-workers, whom I have discussed my condition with, are always shocked by the ongoing impact of kidney failure and the WAITING TIMES for transplantation and the necessity for perhaps multiple transplants in a lifetime. Regardless of whether I win the nomination, I will endeavour to raise the public awareness of kidney disease by running events, bake sales or even putting up a poster during those special days like: World Kidney Day or Organ Transplantation Week. It’s a small act but I can only hope it will lead to something bigger.

Have you considered being more active in the kidney community? Fundraising? Volunteering? It took me a bit of time for me to come round to the idea of opening up about my experiences of kidney disease and life on dialysis but I feel stronger and happier for it.

I'll keep you all updated on the results and with you all the best on your kidney journey x



IGA Nephropathy confirmed at 21. Crashed into End Stage Renal Failure at 23. Now, I share with the world my 3 years lived experience on Home Peritoneal Dialysis and Post Transplant Living 10/10/2023