When Suzanne Henwood was told by her doctor that she would need to go onto the kidney transplant list she was understandably devastated.
The 35-year-old said: “This wasn’t the plan at all. I am learning about the transplant list as I go along as this has all happened so quickly.”
Over the past few years Miss Henwood’s kidney function has plummeted to just 11 per cent.
She said: “We tested members of the family and my mum had been the best match.
“The plan was that when the time came I would be able to have a kidney transplant from my mum but, unfortunately, she has been ill with a collapsed lung.
“You have to be completely fit and healthy to be able to go through with an operation so she wouldn’t be able to do it.”
Miss Henwood has suffered from type-one diabetes since she was 20 years old but her kidney problems have worsened over the past two years.
She said: “I have had kidney infections a lot over the years.
“Last year I was in hospital at Christmas as the antibiotics I had taken for an infection had made my kidney function much worse.
“I went to Singapore to visit my sister in January 2012, but ended up in hospital.”
Despite her illness Miss Henwood is determined to live life to the fullest.
“I still go out with my friends, obviously I don’t drink, but I stay out as late as I can.
“The trick is to have lots of naps as I am tired a lot of the time. If I go out on Saturday I’ll have an easy day on Sunday.”
Miss Henwood still works full time as a medical sales rep.
She said: “The company have been understanding and I’ll have to make a few changes to my schedule. I’ll also have to have my phone on in meetings in case a match is found.”
Now that Miss Henwood is on the kidney transplant waiting list she is expected to stay within two hours of Leeds hospital in case a match is found.
She said: “I have heard of some people being on the waiting list for years, whereas others find a match within 48 hours.
“If I was to get a pancreas and kidney transplant that would get rid of my diabetes and keep me healthier for longer.
“A lot of people don’t realise that kidney transplants usually don’t last a lifetime.”
Friends have rallied around her, including Zoe Kendall who with her sister Sallie Harrison and partner Richard Fowler are fundraising for Kidney Research UK.
The trio have set up a Just Giving page, www.justgiving.com/Zoe-Kendall1, and are participating in numerous races including the Yorkshire Warrior, the Great North Run and the Yorkshire Marathon in October.
Miss Kendall said: “I wanted to do something to help Suzanne and she suggested raising money for Kidney Research.
“We want to raise awareness too, so if people don’t want to sponsor us they can still get signed up on the donor list.”