So once things got back to normal including work etc I decided I wanted to try to help other patients who were in a less fortunate position than myself.
I lady called Gerry came into Jo flower shop and asked if as a local business we would support and go to a function at the Holiday Inn Victoria- Sheffield.
My wife agreed and then we realised this was actuality a function to raise funds for Sheffield Kidney Institute, a little ironic really as Gerry did not know of my kidney problems.
There was an after dinner speaker at the event who is a retired kidney transplant surgeon called Andrew Raftery. He was well-known for his stand up antics about the NHS and as predicted it went down a storm. I also knew he was temporary chair of the local kidney patient group called SAKA
I had never met Andrew before but I approached him in the gents toilet, something today he tells in his routine on how he met me in the toilet and found new chairman of SAKA. I attended a few meetings and then I was approached to stand as chair and ever since I have carried out this voluntary role. SAKA help patients and their families directly without all the complicated and dramatic application processes of other larger charities.
SAKA is part of the NKF (National Kidney Federation), this is a federation of over 50 other kidney patients associations across the whole of the UK. This allows us to get an accurate picture across the UK and respond with relevant campaigns in terms of treatment of patients etc.
I was asked by SAKA members to stand for election on to the executive committee and as a trustee, I served on this for several years and became Vice chair and ultimately chair of the NKF, representing all kidney patients in the UK.
There has been many challenges in my first full year (I took it on part way through the previous year) however it has been a complete honour to represent all patients in the UK.