My Grandfather (Ernest ‘John’ Watson) passed away in September 1985 aged just 55. I never really knew him as I was only 3 years old at the time but the tales told of my Granddad John have ensured that he lives on long after his death. My Granddad fought and ultimately lost a long and grueling battle against Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease (ADPKD) a inherited disease which causes cysts to develop on the kidneys, sometimes spreading to other organs, and ultimately stop them from working.
Growing up I didn’t think much about it, I just knew I had a granddad who I’d never really known and that he was (by all accounts) the kind of man who would do anything for anyone, he was a ‘tinkerer’ and an ‘acquirer of things’ in the borderline legal sense. If you needed a ladder or a tin of paint John would find you one….. and usually his place of work work loose one. To me my Granddad John was and will always be a great man.
Over the last 10 years or so I’ve found that my Grandfather and I have more in common than I could ever have realized, that for all the meritable qualities I hope I have inherited there is one I would have rather not. I too have ADPKD.
To make matters worse my Mum also has the disease and for what seems like a lifetime now, she’s been battling against renal failure. Despite the (quite literally) heroic attempts of my step father who donated one of his kidneys last year, she continues to fight the disease. Her new kidney was unable to fend off the anti-bodies in her blood and once again she faces a long and potentially endless wait for a new kidney. I can’t describe how frustrating it is to be able to do nothing to help because, as a a result of my diagnosis, I can’t do that which I would ask of others….to save my Mum’s life. If it’s in your power to do so please sign the Organ Donation Register (wherever you are) and if your a hero, like my Step Dad, please take a look at Living Organ Donation; because you can save a life without giving yours and to a family like mine it means everything.
Thanks for reading. I promise not to make a habit of writing.
P.S If my Mum see’s this she’ll probably cry (sorry Mum) and if my Step Dad see’s this he’s probably going to be smug as hell ….. and that’s fair enough.