Registered charity number 271775

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These special events begin with a special service at 09.30 on October 31st at St Stephen's Church, Ullswater Road, Southmead BS10 6DP, hosted by The Great Big Kidney Thank You and Southmead Hospital Charity. The service

commemorates 50 years of kidney donations in Bristol, and joins the congregation of St. Stephen’s for their Midweek Communion, singing parts of the beautiful Faure Requiem (not to be confused with the evening concert). All welcome.

Find out more:  

The events finish with a Great Big Kidney Thank You Party on November 3rd at Westbury-on-Trym Village Hall, from 10.00am. All details below.

Defenders 4 Kidneys

A few Bakpa committee members met up with Barry Jacobs and other Defenders 4 Kidneys team members at Southmead Hospital on Monday 25th June, on Day 3 of their journey. Barry had a kidney transplant 8 ½ years ago, and wanted to raise money for Kidney Research UK with this tour around UK in Land Rover Defenders. In Barry’s words:

“I will be leading a small convoy of Land Rover Defenders around the 26 Renal Transplant Centres of the UK. We will visit both mainstream and children’s hospitals as well as other locations. This will help Kidney Research UK in their objective of improving Patient Engagement at these Centres. We will also meet the researchers and scientists and witness first-hand some of the amazing work being undertaken. Kidney Research UK need more funds to continue and expand their research program to speed up the effort to find cures.

The challenge is taking place for two weeks between 23rd June and 8th July 2018. The route is shown on our JustGiving page:

It would be great if you would join us on route at some stage. On our journey we will be using as many Green Lanes as possible, avoiding major roads and motorways. The kidney shaped route will take us around the UK, covering about 2500 miles taking us over all types of terrain. We will be camping out in the Great British wilderness!”

Walking Offa’s Dyke Path for BAKPA

Well done to Pete Sayers and his wife Jacqui on completing their walk. Pete’s main aim is to encourage people to sign up to be an organ donor. In addition he is raising money for charity, and has set up a JustGiving page in favour of BAKPA:

Here is Pete’s account:

Pete and Jacqui near Chepstow

In the 1980s I was unlucky enough to have kidney failure, and in 1987 I was lucky enough to have a kidney transplant, which was done at Southmead Hospital. More than 31 years later that kidney's still going strong, and I've enjoyed a normal healthy

life the entire time - because the donated kidney was such a good match and because of the fantastic care I've received from everyone at the Southmead Renal Unit.

My wife Jacqui and I had planned to spend a fortnight in Spring 2017 walking the 177 miles of Offa’s Dyke, celebrating 30 years of my transplant and aiming to encourage as many more people as possible to join the organ donor register. Unfortunately we each sustained injuries that prevented us from doing a long-distance walk, and we had to postpone it until Spring 2018. So earlier this year we trained hard whenever we could - some days walking up to 15 miles to build up strength and confidence - until on 27 April 2018 we caught the train to Prestatyn ready to start the long walk to Chepstow!

We chose to walk Offa’s Dyke because it marks the boundary between Wales, where there is a ‘presumed consent’ system for organ donation, and England, where people currently have to ‘opt in’. Walking this boundary was designed to draw attention to the difference, and to highlight the need for more donors; the ability to walk the whole of Offa's Dyke demonstrates just how enabling a transplant can be.

The walk itself was in equal measure challenging and fun! It felt like a real adventure to be walking out of Prestatyn, up over the hills to leave the sea behind, heading for the next night's accommodation. The weather was kind to us - cold and windy but dry - and the landscape glorious: we felt so lucky to be able to do the walk. Three days' walking through the wonderful Clwydian Range was followed by a rest day in Llangollen, where we did a live phone interview with Claire Cavanagh on the BBC Radio Bristol morning programme! It went really well and was just the type of publicity we were aiming for, prompting much discussion about organ donation during the programme. After the rest day it was six solid days' walking as the temperature rose, ending with an exhausting trek to Hay-on-Wye on a sweltering Bank Holiday Monday. We were joined by friends that day, and together we not only walked but also managed to rescue some lambs that had strayed into a brook and become exhausted and stuck!

A very welcome rest day in Hay was then followed by four days' walking across the impressively high Black Mountains before heading down to Chepstow, where we were met by Colin and John from BAKPA who'd driven over from Bristol specially to welcome us - it was great to see them. A couple more hours' walking took us to Sedbury Cliffs, the Severn Estuary and the end of our walk - we felt sad that it was over but so happy to have been able to publicise the benefits of organ donation - and we raised over £2500 for BAKPA!

Pete Sayers

Renal Intervention (Day Case) Unit update

The Day Case Unit was fitted out in 2015 (read here) and has been very successful. The donation from BAKPA has now been acknowledged by this plaque on the door.

Donation from a Bristol Drama Group

The Bartholomites are a drama group based in St Andrews, Bristol. Every year they perform a pantomime and this year it was Dick Whittington. They always choose a charity to support and ask the audience if they would like to put money in a collection pot after each of the four performances.  This year they chose BAKPA, as a thank you for the care given to an ex-Bartholomite.

They were pleased to give BAKPA a cheque for £471.39, the sum raised.

Congratulations to Valerie

80 years old and 38 years of her transplanted kidney

Great Grandmother Valerie Coombe of Charlton Kings, near Cheltenham recently celebrated her 80th birthday with her husband Pete, Son and two grandsons and one granddaughter, three great grandsons and one great granddaughter and all her family and friends at the Lilley Brook Golf Club.

It was a joyous occasion which was thoroughly enjoyed by all, and to make it even more special Valerie had no idea that her sister Jenny had flown over from Florida for the special celebration until she walked into the room. Her love for her family can be seen by the numerous photographs all around her sitting room showing how close they all are.

     Valerie at her 80th Birthday celebrations

Valerie had her renal transplant 38 years ago, but at that time she was told it would probably last 5 years if she was lucky. Thanks to the devotion and support of her husband Pete and family and all the amazing staff at the Renal Unit in Southmead Hospital she lives to tell the tale.

Valerie has always been a good supporter of the Bristol Area Kidney Patients Association who help both the Renal Unit and Patients wherever possible, she collected donations in lieu of presents and raised £705 for the Charity as her way of saying thank you for her special gift of life.

Valerie and Pete Coombe

Opening of new Renal Day Case Unit at Southmead

Monday 30/11/2015

A new day case unit was officially opened at Gate 8a on level 4. The two-bedded room within the renal inpatient ward in the Brunel building has been funded by the Bristol Area Kidney Patients’ Association (BAKPA) to improve the experience of patients coming in for biopsies and to have dialysis lines fitted or removed.

The money was donated to the charity by Philip Mann in recognition of the 25th anniversary of his kidney transplant at Southmead Hospital.

The unit serves as a recovery area for patients who have the planned day case procedures on the ward. Depending on the procedure they have undergone patients will stay in the unit for an average of two to six hours.

BAKPA chairman Mike McAllister, who has been involved with the charity since he had his first transplant in 1986, said: “It’s great to be able to see the fulfilment of what we stand for – patients working for patients.

“Knowing what it is like to be ill and on dialysis makes us want to put back what we got out of it while making things easier for patients.

“It is a pleasure to have raised funds for this unit on behalf of BAKPA.”

Philip Mann, who received his kidney in June 1990, said: “I felt I should mark the anniversary in some way so I made a contribution towards this unit.

“I was involved in BAKPA as a committee member when I lived in Bristol and looked them up. I remembered Mike from all those years ago and he told me about this and it seemed worthwhile.”

Renal Clinical Director, Rommel Ravanan, thanked the members of BAKPA for their contribution to creating the Renal Intervention Unit.

“The help we have received towards this unit will benefit the patient population not just this year and next but for many years going forward,” he said.

More photos below:

The 2 bed Day Case Unit

Renal Unit staff and BAKPA members in the new Day Case Unit

BAKPA members present at the opening