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Renal Charity lifts spirits at Morriston Hospital

Patients at Morriston Hospital’s Renal Unit were given a much-appreciated treat last weekend when a local charity surprised them by delivering more than 300 cream teas.

The Paul Popham Fund, Renal Support Wales, delivered 320 afternoon tea boxes to Morriston Hospital Renal Unit, to lift the spirits of patients and staff on Friday 3 July 2020 and Saturday 4 July 2020.

While Wales is slowly coming out of lockdown, the last few months have not been easy for the staff and patients at Morriston Hospital Renal Unit. People with kidney disease are classed as extremely vulnerable to serious complications caused by COVID-19 and have been asked to shield until the 16th August 2020. However, many of these patients require life-saving dialysis treatment and must travel to dialysis units three times a week. This requirement has understandably caused many vulnerable dialysis patients’ great anxiety. Considering this, The Paul Popham Fund wanted to provide patients with a tasty treat that they can enjoy whilst they receive their treatment, as well as providing a thank you gift to the wonderful dialysis teams that care for them.

This gesture was made possible by a generous fundraiser by transplant recipient and Paul Popham Fund Peer Mentor, Geraint John, who wanted to show support for the unit and its staff. He completed a sponsored walk of 50,000 steps around his back garden in late April, raising a total of £1,900 in the process.

Jo Popham, CEO of the Paul Popham Fund, explained:

“Geraint contacted us, explained what he wanted to do, and asked if he could ring-fence the money to support the renal unit in Morriston. We obviously said ‘yes’ and contacted the unit to discuss what they would like to do with the funds. Meryl Webb-Jones, Renal Matron, and Melanie Jones, Senior Sister, said that afternoon tea would be a welcome delight during this difficult time and would lift spirits for the staff and renal team.

“Not long after Geraint completed his long walk, Andrew Long, Head of Renal Technical Services, contacted the Paul Popham Fund to see if we could purchase lamps for their home dialysis patients. The bright light and magnifying mirror the lamps provide, are for renal patients who dialyse at home to see more clearly where to put the needle, allowing them to dialyse with ease. We spoke to Geraint to see if he was happy for some of the money to go to this too and he was delighted.”

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Geraint John, whose fundraiser enabled delivery of 320 afternoon teas to Morriston Hospital renal department

Geraint has been a volunteer Peer Mentor for the charity since 2016, providing advice, guidance and an empathetic ear to people with kidney disease needing support. His personal experience of kidney transplantation gives him an understanding of the issues other transplant patients and their loved ones might be going through.

A highly energetic volunteer, Geraint also set-up the Paul Popham Fund’s walking for health group in 2019 and is quizmaster on the charity’s fortnightly virtual quiz, which has raised a further £500 during the pandemic. When he got the news that he had to shield for 12 weeks he decided to do something positive to help people like him and the staff that care for them.

The delivery of the afternoon teas was also undertaken by the charity’s generous volunteers. During the pandemic, the Paul Popham Fund have recruited severaladditional volunteers to support people with kidney disease get their essential shopping. This volunteer team jumped at the chance to deliver the afternoon tea boxes to the unit.

Lynne Orton, chair of trustees, Paul Popham Fund, said:

“The unit managers, Melanie and Debbie, informed us how many were dialysing and on what shifts, and we organised for the boxes to be delivered accordingly, so no one missed out. We cannot thank Geraint, Louise, James, Ron, Derek, Nikki & Nicole enough for the support they have shown the charity and people with kidney disease in Wales.

“Like many charities across the UK, the Paul Popham Fund has had to adapt its services during this time to support their beneficiaries, and the team of volunteers have adapted with the charity to ensure all people with kidney disease in Wales lead a better quality of life during this time.”

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