A patient at University Hospitals Plymouth, who received his first kidney transplant 51 years ago, has written a book detailing his experiences of living with kidney disease throughout his life.
Andy Demaine, formerly a Professor of Molecular Medicine at the University of Plymouth, decided to document his patient journey and his lifetime achievements in order to help to educate and inspire others, as well as to aid understanding of the disease.
“People don’t seem to realise that a kidney transplant can actually last a very long time,” explains Andy. “Having dialysis can be a pretty traumatic experience, and so it is really important to give hope to those going through it, and for them to know that their quality of life can be just as good as it was before.”
One of the longest-surviving kidney failure patients in the world, Andy received his first kidney transplant at the age of 13 in 1970, having succumbed to the disease a year earlier. He was inspired by his treatment to go into researching kidney disease as a career, which led him to meet his wife Ann, who is also a former Consultant of Diabetes and Endocrinology at University Hospitals Plymouth and Associate Professor at the University of Plymouth. Together, their research has contributed to an understanding of the development and treatment of both kidney disease and diabetes.
Andy has chosen to celebrate the 47 years since his last and current kidney transplant by publishing his biography, ‘My Kidney and Me: a Half Century Journey Overcoming Kidney Failure’, which can be purchased here. It contains an important message of resilience and hope for anyone living with the devastating chronic disease, as well as a historical timeline of the many developments that have impacted Andy’s and other patients’ care over the last half a century.
“I was very fortunate to acquire copies of my medical records, spread out over the last 50 years, as they provide an accurate account of my care especially during the early days of treating kidney failure,” adds Andy.
“I’m really grateful for the support I’ve received from Kidney Care UK, as well as the Renal Unit here at Derriford Hospital, in writing the book. The treatment I have received here has been excellent, and I strongly believe that feedback from patients is essential to improve overall delivery.”
Dr Wai Tse, Consultant Physician and Nephrologist at UHP, said: “I have nothing but admiration for what Andy has achieved despite ill health, cumulating in the award of his research chair from Plymouth University. His and Ann's research has contributed significantly to the understanding of the pathogenesis and treatment of diabetes and kidney disease. Both were made professors in recognition of their work, and it has benefitted patients and the NHS immeasurably.
“Andy's book will provide inspiration to people with kidney disease, and he is an ambassador to kidney transplantation and testament to the benefits of live kidney transplants.”
Sally Taber, previous Nursing Officer at Addenbrooke’s Hospital and Chair of Kidney Care UK, said: “Having first met Andrew in 1970, it is my pleasure to recommend this book as a true record of the changes wrought by advancing medical science from an intelligent patient and highly regarded practitioner in molecular immunogenetics. It will be of great interest to clinical people, renal associations, renal patients and their supporters, alike.”