Long-term illness inspires mountain climb

Chichester woman Vicki Pang has watched her father deal with ill health caused by kidney failure for more than 30 years.

Monday, 10th July 2017, 2:52 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 6:22 pm
Vicki Pang with her father, who is a renal patient and the motivation behind her choice of charity

But it need never have been that way, if only Steve Pang had been treated differently when he developed a kidney infection in his late 20s.

His journey has inspired Vicki, 22, from Pagham, to climb Mount Kilimanjaro for Kidney Research UK and to raise awareness of kidney problems.

The nine-day trek will start on October 11 but before then, Vicki has a Summer Fiesta Fundraiser planned at Graylingwell Park on Saturday, July 22.

She explained: “The idea is to hold a summer party with a live band, big barbecue and traditional funfair games at The Lodge and Chapel Green.

“Our aim is to create a day for friends, families and the community to come together and enjoy the sunshine.”

Vicki is looking for vendors to hold stalls, local businesses to donate raffle prizes, musicians and any offers of equipment on loan.

The fundraiser will run from 1.30pm to 8pm. Tickets are £5 for adults, £2 under-tens, to include a burger and a drink.

Call Vicki on 07783157744 or email [email protected] for more information.

Vicki has few memories of times when her dad was fighting fit, just vague recollections of scootering along the promenade, being thrown across his shoulder while walking down the high street and golf lessons.

“The clearest memories, or at least the most recent, all involve either something to do with hospital visits, events carefully planned around dialysis times, or disapproving looks from strangers because I’m arguing with a man in a wheelchair,” she said.

“My dad has been a renal patient since 1984 and is currently hoping for his fourth transplant. I would say ‘waiting for’ but he keeps being taken off of and put back on to the kidney transplant waiting list.”

For the past eight years, he has required dialysis three times a week, for around five hours each time. He had multiple heart bypass surgery in March and is scheduled for a cataract operation soon.

His problems began with a kidney infection, which caused kidney failure. This led to anaemia, hypoparathyroidism, spinal cord compression, insomnia, sleep apnea, coronary artery calcification and cataracts.

Vicki said: “All-in-all, it’s easy to see why Kidney Research UK is a charity so close to my heart.

“A lot of what has happened to my dad has been avoidable. If his infection was treated differently all those years ago, his kidneys may not have failed; if his hypoparathyroidism was picked up by doctors early on, he need not have lost six inches in height. Ifs are easy, I suppose.

“What I hope to achieve from climbing Kilimanjaro is to raise awareness for kidney infection, kidney disease and kidney failure.

“There are three million people in the UK with kidney disease right now. It is a silent killer and there is currently no cure. Let’s be ambitious and believe that together we really can help change this.”