First diagnosis can be a shock

JPMT. Sarah Jones. pic by steve robards
JPMT. Sarah Jones. pic by steve robards

For Sarah Jones turning 40 next month is even more of a personal milestone than it might be for many people.

Many people remember Sarah as a popular member of the WHSmith team in Burgess Hill before she left to work for accountants Keymer Haslam just across the road in Church Road.

Behind her working day Sarah faced a medical challenge as she battled against kidney problems that eventually made her so ill that she needed a kidney transplant.

In the end as Sarah waited patiently a suitable donor organ was found and Sarah says the operation transformed what had become a difficult life.

To celebrate her birthday Sarah is organising a fund-raising day with a black and white theme at the Mid Sussex Golf Club off Spatham Lane near Ditchling on November 17.

The event has proved so popular that it is a sell-out and Sarah is now concentrating on selling tickets for a silent auction.

Sarah said: “I turn 40 in November, and without research into kidney disease, and people being on the organ donor register, I would not be here to celebrate my 40th birthday.

“For various reasons my kidneys failed in 2001, and I went on dialysis. I dialysed three times a week for four-and-a- half years.

“It was becoming increasingly difficult to maintain dialysis, and I then received the call that would change my life, offering me a transplant.

“I have therefore chosen to raise money for Kidney Research UK the day after my 40th birthday, by hosting the Black and White Event! I want to give something back at a time I am celebrating my birthday. All tickets for the event have now been sold, which is fantastic.

“National and local companies, as well as individuals have been very generous in donating prizes towards the amazing raffle that will be drawn on the evening. Ant and Dec, Chelsea FC and Coronation Street have donated prizes towards the silent auction. One of the other girls from my six-member team, who are helping me arrange the event, is actually currently on the organ donation list and awaiting for a kidney-pancreas transplant.”

Tickets will also be sold at the South East Kidney Patient Association annual meeting, as well as in the Kidney Unit at The Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton, where patients receive treatment from specialists. The charity Kidney Research UK says about three million in the UK are under the threat of chronic kidney disease. Many of these people are not aware they might have the condition.