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Inspiration for Kidney Donor Walkers

Media Statement

Thursday October 2

Inspiration for Kidney Donor Walkers

A Whangarei couple, travelling the length of New Zealand to raise awareness for kidney donation, have been re-inspired by seven potential donors coming forward since they set off two weeks ago.

Ros Cole-Baker donated her kidney to husband Hugh last year and, after the successful outcome, decided to walk and mountain bike the length of the country, following the Te Araroa Trail, with Hugh accompanying her via campervan, to encourage others to donate.

They set off from Cape Reinga on September 19 and, since appearing in the media, were informed by Whangarei Hospital’s renal service that, so far, seven enquiries had come through from potential live donors as a result.

Says renal nurse manager Cheryle Kiwi: “This is a great response. It is very encouraging, not only for the Cole-Bakers, but for Northlanders on dialysis awaiting kidney transplantation."

There are currently 170 Northlanders undertaking dialysis to keep them alive. Of these, 36 are medically suitable to be listed on the national kidney transplant list and are waiting for a suitable donor.

There is a robust system to ensure donating a kidney is not going to be detrimental to a donor’s health. On average, a donor will require a recovery period of around two months.

Currently 71 Northlanders have had a functioning kidney transplant and Mr Cole-Baker is one of these. After struggling with kidney disease for 10 years, resulting in renal failure and the need for dialysis, he received his kidney from Mrs Cole-Baker last year and, now the couple is passionate about reducing the waiting list of the 600 New Zealanders in need of a transplant.

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Says Mrs Cole-Baker: “The only way to avoid dialysis is to have a kidney transplant from a deceased donor or a living person. Donating a kidney will make a real difference to the life of a person with kidney disease. In the words of one donor, ‘You'll never do anything better than donate a kidney’.”

The Cole-Bakers will be sharing the facts about live kidney donation and the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, conducting talks in towns and handing out brochures along the way. They aim to be in Wellington by Christmas, allowing up to five months to reach the Bluff.

To support the Cole-Baker’s mission, the renal team will be joining them through the Whangarei leg of their journey.

Ms Kiwi says the Cole-Baker’s journey was going very well and they were more inspired upon hearing the news of the live donor enquiries.

# To discuss donating a kidney, contact the transplant coordinator service on: 430 4100
# 8508.


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