Help us hit £500,000 target to transform kidney unit

Posted on in Fundraising

Renal team launch kidney unit appeal

Staff and patients have launched a £500,000 appeal to transform the kidney unit at The James Cook University Hospital.

The hospital’s renal team provides more than 3,000 outpatient appointments every year, but they want to ensure this outstanding care is delivered in a first class facility – and they need your help to make it happen!

Treatments have advanced over the years and can now often be delivered much quicker which means fewer patients require an overnight stay in hospital while more are attending for clinics and day case procedures.

Plans have been drawn up for a new and improved outpatient facility that is purpose built to meet this increasing demand and provide the very best environment for patients.

The revamp will see a complete redesign of the renal day unit area to increase clinical space and bring the trust’s specialist renal nurses together in one place.

Clare Allinson, lead nurse for renal services, said: “Our day case work has expanded and grown, but our environment has not. There’s now less pressure on hospital beds for kidney care, but this means demand has increased for outpatient services.

“The space we have could be much better utilised and if we can make our vision a reality by raising this money then we can treat more patients and reduce waiting times as well as providing a bright, welcoming and modern environment for our patients.

“Launching this appeal is something positive after a really challenging few months responding to the coronavirus pandemic and we really hope everyone will dig deep to support us and come up with some innovative socially distanced fundraisers.”

Kidney unit appeal banner

Supporters are encouraged to share what they have “bean” up to on social media using the hashtag #BeanFundraising

Renal patient Sarah Eales added: “The waiting area on the day unit is a bit cold and uninviting and some patients spend a lot of time in there waiting for appointments or their transport home after dialysis.

“It will mean a lot to people if we can raise the money to transform the unit.”

Thomas Harrington of South Tees Hospitals Charity said: “We face challenging times ahead; however we now need to push forward with our appeal as our kidney patients deserve to have the very best facilities.

“We have already raised almost £250,000 thanks to legacies and donations from our generous patients, however we still have a long way to go and that is why we are now seeking support from our amazing community.

“If you are lucky enough not to be affected financially by the pandemic and are in a position to donate or fundraise please show your support to the renal team at James Cook.”

Here’s just a few ways you can get involved:

  • Be a runner bean – pull on your running shoes and get sponsored to clock up those miles
  • Join our jumping beans – sign up for a tandem parachute jump (to take place when COVID restrictions allow)
  • Take the baked bean challenge – Don your chef’s hat to create a masterpiece and raffle the recipe online
  • Make sure you are “Bean Active” in the New Year – Sign up to The South Tees 73 Mile Fundraising Challenge and cover 73 miles over 73 days in the year that will mark 73 years of the NHS. Walk it, run it, skip it, cycle it, swim it, or combine a variety of activities to make up the distance – you decide how to do it as long as it adheres to social distancing rules! Sign up online from Friday 4 December at

Get involved or donate online or call 01642 854160 or 01642 854296 to find out about upcoming fundraising events

For all the latest appeal news follow South Tees Hospitals Charity on Facebook and Twitter or search #BeanFundraising.

Kidney unit appeal launch

Sarah’s story

Sarah Eales

Renal patient Sarah Eales says she will do anything she can to support the Kidney Unit Appeal – including jumping out of a plane!

Sarah has been treated for kidney problems at The James Cook University Hospital since she was a child. The 37-year-old from Middlesbrough only has one kidney and has been on dialysis for two years while she awaits a kidney transplant.

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic she has been doing her own dialysis at home in the comfort of her own bedroom. She has to dialyse four days a week for three hours at a time, but she says it’s not so bad because she is often entertained by her three children.

Sarah attends the renal unit for routine check-ups but she says other kidney patients spend a lot of time in there before and after appointments and it is well overdue a makeover.

“The waiting area on the day unit is a bit cold and uninviting and some patients spend a lot of time in there waiting for appointments or their transport home after dialysis,” she said.

“Some people do dread going to dialysis. It’s depressing just sat on a machine for four hours so I think it will mean a lot to people if we can raise the money to transform the unit.

“Hopefully it will mean patients are a lot more comfortable and happier to be there.”

Sarah was keen to get involved with the £500,000 appeal right from the start and while social distancing means a number of events have had to be put on hold for a while, there is one fundraiser she is still busy planning.

“I have offered to do a sky dive,” she said. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do so hopefully we can make that happen!”

Sophie’s story

Sophie Warren

Sophie Warren often describes herself as a medical mystery.

The hairdresser was just 19 when she was told she had kidney failure. The shock diagnosis left her attending dialysis three times a week while she waited for a suitable kidney donor to be found.

But just over a year later Sophie’s condition has improved so much that she no longer needs a transplant, much to everyone’s amazement.

Sophie said it was when the dialysis started to make her feel worse instead of better that she knew something had changed. But she didn’t expect clinicians to tell her she was no longer in need of a transplant.

“It’s a scary feeling because we don’t know how this has it happened,” she said. “I always said I was a medical mystery!

“I knew something was wrong when I was going on the machine and feeling poorly.  At first I used to love coming here and going on it as I used to feel normal afterwards and not as sick or tired.”

While Sophie, now 21, still has kidney disease, she is no longer classed as having kidney failure and she puts this down to maintaining a positive attitude throughout everything life has thrown at her.

Sophie, who lives in Loftus, says she has had amazing support from her family and from the renal unit staff at The James Cook University Hospital.

She said: “I could not thank everyone enough when I was diagnosed. They were so quick at getting everything sorted and made it less scary.”

And that is why she says she will do anything she can to support the hospital’s kidney unit campaign.

“I never realised how many people were on the transplant list until I came here,” said Sophie.

“I am one of the lucky few as I only attend hospital now to flush out my lines and I will soon have these removed.

“I think a lot of people forget about their kidneys and don’t realise they can help someone by donating one or supporting appeals like this.”

Craig’s story

Craig Myers

It came as quite a shock to Craig Myers when he was diagnosed with kidney failure last year.

The 32-year-old from Easterside, Middlesbrough, was devastated as he did not know what the future would hold.

Craig now attends twilight dialysis sessions at The James Cook University Hospital three times a week.

“From my first treatment they have helped me more than I could ever put into words,” said Craig, who is a qualified dental nurse and a keen supporter of Middlesbrough Football Club.

“They explained everything in fine detail and supported me with my treatment. A few months into my treatment at the unit I was introduced to a programme called Shared Care which enables us patients to have involvement in the majority of aspects of our treatment. I am now fully trained and complete my own treatment thanks to outstanding support from the team.

“Each and every one of the team at the renal unit are amazing at what they do. They constantly go above and beyond and nothing at all is ever too much trouble. They have the ability to keep your spirits up and make having treatment very bearable and not as daunting as it first seems.

“We are exceptionally lucky to have our renal unit and all the amazing staff.”

Craig said a £500,000 refurbishment would massively benefit patients and urged everyone to support the appeal:

“I believe such an investment would just make an already brilliant unit even more outstanding in every aspect,” he said.

“It would massively improve the patient journey and overall experience. Patients spend a large amount of their life at the unit so it is vitally important that it is the best environment it can possibly be.

“Just look at what the unit gives to us patients, it would only be right to give that little something back.”