David Joins Sheffield Hospitals Lottery as thanks for generations of kidney care

A family with a long history of kidney complications spanning more than a century have joined the Sheffield Hospitals Lottery to thank city doctors for their care.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 21 June, 2018, 11:48
David Hughes

Generations of the same family have battled Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) - an inherited kidney disorder which causes fluid-filled cysts to form in the kidneys.

Many of the family have had years of treatment at the Sheffield Kidney Institute at the city’s Northern General Hospital and say their care over the years has been ‘top notch’.

(From left) Ann Jessermino , David and Gladys Hughes

Mum, Gladys Hughes, who’s 85 years old this July, found out she had PKD in 1971, after an accident resulted in a haemorrhage which needed emergency hospital treatment.

Gladys said: “All my mum’s family – the Walmsley’s - died of kidney disease, and my mum, Mary, also died from it when she was just 53. Back in those days there wasn’t much knowledge of the condition and how to treat it. These days medical research is far more advanced.

“I knew I would be at risk as it’s a hereditary disorder, but didn’t have any symptoms so I put it to the back of my mind. Then one day I fell on some ladders resulting in a massive bleed. It was only during tests at the hospital that the cysts on my kidneys were found.

“Both kidneys were affected and over time I needed dialysis, and was put on the waiting list for a transplant. As I was so unwell, I had to give up my job as auxiliary nurse which broke my heart, as I loved it.

(from left) Ann Jesermino, Gladys and David Hughes

“Then I got the call I was waiting for - there was a kidney for me. I had the transplant the next day. That was in 1990 when I was 58 years old. I’ve had the same kidney for 28 years with no trouble at all – it’s amazing really.”

Gladys has three children, David, Alan and Ann, all of whom also have the disorder.

Daughter Ann Jessermino, aged 57, was tested for PKD when Gladys was diagnosed following her accident.

“All of us were tested when mum fell. I was 11 years old, Alan 13 and David 17,” Ann said.

“Alan and I were confirmed as having PKD, but David was clear until he reached 40. We had to go on yearly visits to the Sheffield Kidney Institute for tests. Things were fine for many years and in that time I finished school, got married and had two children, Matthew and Terri.

“In 2006 my blood pressure started to increase so I was put on medication to lower it as high blood pressure can be detrimental to kidney function.

“Compared to my brothers I have been fairly lucky. I get very tired, but I haven’t needed a transplant just yet. To help avoid this I was pleased to be selected for the use of a new drug called Tolvaptan which slows down cyst growth.”

One of Gladys’ sons, Alan has needed two transplants. The first in 2011 was donated by his brother in law, which sadly rejected. After this he was put back on the waiting list and had the second transplant in 2016 thanks to his son in law, which has been successful.

Alan’s three children, Mark, Adam, and Linzi have also been tested as positive for PKD.

Gladys’ other son, David, admits he ‘thought he’d got away with it,’ but needed a transplant in the summer of 2016. “I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 40, after my blood pressure increased. Due to the history of kidney disease in the family I was referred for an ultrasound scan and blood tests, which found my kidney function was reducing,” David said.

“After diagnosis I needed to go to the renal clinic every few months. When my kidney function dropped to 12 per cent I started dialysis, which I needed for two and a half years before a kidney became available from a deceased donor. Thanks to that person, God bless them, my function is now back up to 80 per cent.

“PKD makes you feel tired and listless, it upsets your rhythm. Transplants are successful in putting symptoms right, but you have to look after yourself; you owe whoever gave you that kidney.

“I was recently at a check up at the hospital when I walked past the new Sheffield Hospitals Charity fundraising hub. I popped in and found out about the charity and its lottery. I signed up straight away, after all the help we’ve had over the years I didn’t hesitate.

“We’ve had such fantastic care and are so privileged that we live near to such a specialist centre so close to where we live. The staff have done so much for all of my family, they saved all our lives.”

• The Sheffield Hospitals Lottery raises vital funds for Sheffield’s adult NHS hospitals andthe Jessop Wing maternity hospital, with all the proceeds going to Sheffield Hospitals Charity to help improve local patient care.

The weekly draw costs from only £1 a week s. Players have a chance to win £25,000 each week plus other prizes for matching three, four and five numbers.

To join the Sheffield Hospitals Lottery visit www.sheffieldhospitalscharity.org.uk/lottery phone 0114 271 1351 or lottery@shct.nhs.uk email address.