Shaun O’Connor, 36, of Middleton, Manchester has lost over 5 stone (81lbs) in order to receive a kidney and pancreas transplant. Shaun also chose to use the opportunity to raise awareness of diabetes, kidney disease and the work of the UK’s leading kidney patient support charity, Kidney Care UK.
Shaun was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was eight years old. He had managed his blood sugar levels with daily insulin injections but three years ago after being knocked off his motorbike doctors saw that his blood pressure was high and he was subsequently diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). High blood pressure and diabetes are the most common causes of CKD, but despite this, only 54% of people with diabetes have regular urine checks to monitor their kidney function and in those with high blood pressure this number is less than 30% (1).
Shaun explains; “Over time my kidney function fell and my kidney doctors agreed it was time to look for a transplant. Because of my diabetes the best option is a simultaneous kidney and pancreas transplant however I needed to have a BMI of 28 or less and mine was 35 at that stage. I knew something had to change so I started walking and I haven’t stopped; my BMI is now 23.9 and I am on the transplant waiting list. This has been a difficult journey but I want to give back to Kidney Care UK who support thousands of people living with this disease every single day.”
Shaun recently set himself the challenge of walking 46 miles from Middleton to Blackpool and was joined by his brother Joe Anderson, and sister-in-law Abbey Jones.
Robert Hope, Head of Fundraising at Kidney Care UK adds: “The way Shaun has taken on what many would find incredibly challenging is truly inspirational. Not only that but he has chosen to use the opportunity to help raise money to support other people in his situation. We are immensely touched that he has chosen to fundraise for Kidney Care UK and wish him luck that his transplant call comes soon.”
Shaun, Joe and Abbey have raised £1,686.85 so far. To find out more about Shaun’s challenge, including how to sponsor him go to www.justgiving.com/Shaun-O-Connor4
Right: Shaun before weight loss.
Above: Shaun after weight loss.
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