Mother-to-be inspires kidney research boost

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CUSTOMERS and staff at a Sheffield optometrist were inspired to raise money for kidney research by one of its managers, who had a transplant and is now expecting a baby.

Cara Smith, manager at the Woodseats practice of Alex Gage, had the operation in 2009 and is now about to take maternity leave.

A £510 cheque was handed to Sheffield Area Kidney Association thanks to efforts at the Woodseats and Crosspool branches.

Alex Gage said: “Cara has been with me for 13 years and is a vital member of our team. Supporting SAKA is our way of thanking them for the support that they have given Cara over the years. We’re delighted to say that, despite all the odds, Cara is expecting her first child and will go on maternity leave at the end of February.

“We have nicknamed her ‘Cara 5 kidneys’ as she has two of her own, one from her husband and two for the baby!”

Cara was diagnosed with chronic renal disease when she was 13. Her kidney function deteriorated slowly but at the end of 2008 Cara was advised that she would need to go on dialysis or have a transplant.

Both Cara’s husband, Carl, and brother, Kristian, went for the initial tests and both proved to be a match, but her husband insisted he be the donor.

“In June 2009 we went in for the operation,” said Cara.

“They removed Carl’s kidney first and then transplanted it into me and ‘hey presto!’ it worked first time, but I never expected to be able to have children, so it’s doubly amazing!”

SAKA treasurer Ken Tupling said the money would be used to fund valuable research.

“Without research there is never going to be a cure for the illness from which most of us suffer,” he added.