A 30-year old man from Porth in Rhondda who has suffered with renal failure his entire life has entered himself and his family into the Cardiff 2K Family Run, which takes place ahead of the famous Cardiff 10K road race this September 11th, in order to raise funds for race organisers, Kidney Wales.
Shaun Ruck was born with dysplastic kidneys, a condition that affects around one in 4,000 babies and results in the kidneys not developing normally while in the womb. Shaun was under consultant care at Great Ormond Street Hospital from birth until the age of six, when in January 1993, an organ became available and Shaun received a kidney transplant.
The transplant was a success and Shaun lived a healthy childhood with one functioning kidney the age of 16 when doctors noticed that his blood tests were erratic and that his transplanted kidney began to fail. After receiving the news that his body had rejected his kidney, both Shaun’s mother and father were tested to see if they were a match and could become his live donor. It was revealed that despite being a match, Shaun’s father could not become a live donor due to his own diabetes.
Shaun was required to undergo continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD) treatment which he received for roughly three months before contracting a fungal infection. To avoid further complications and to safeguard his health, Shaun was then required to transfer to receive haemo dialysis, which was completed in the Kidney Renal Unit for Kids (KRUK) in Cardiff for nine months. At the age of 18, Shaun was then transferred over to the adult unit in the Cardiff University Hospital of Wales, where he received treatment three times a week.
After his transfer from the KRUK, Shaun’s parents immediately trained to be able to administer haemo dialysis for Shaun at home. After two months, a dialysis unit was installed in Shaun’s home and he received treatment in the comfort of his own home each night so he didn’t miss out on school. Shaun continued with his dialysis treatment for three years while he finished his schooling at Pencoed Comprehensive and then went on to complete a performing arts course at Bridgend College.
In 2007, aged 21, Shaun received the phone call he had been waiting for, there was an organ available and he would go into surgery that evening. The transplant was a success and after a few weeks Shaun was on the mend and he was able to come-off dialysis and rely on his new transplanted kidney.
It has been nine years since the second transplant, and in 2015 and at the age of 30 and working as a care worker, Shaun’s new kidney started failing for unknown reasons for the second consecutive time.
Doctors tried immediate intravenous using IV steroids try to halt the rejection and kill the antibodies that were attacking his new foreign kidney, however after four sessions the treatment was unsuccessful. After being given the decision from doctors that he could continue to persist with the treatment without any guarantee of the results he was hoping for, Shaun has now accepted that renal failure is something he will be living with for the rest of his life and that it would be best for his body to go back on dialysis for the third time. Shaun is now receiving haemo-dialysis treatment at Llantristant dialysis unit Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons for four hours each session.
During these years of hardship the Kidney Wales Foundation has been a huge help to Shaun and his family, providing practical and emotional support to Shaun, his wife Gemma and his two children Hallie and Kian as they deal with the many problems that kidney disease brings. This year, Shaun is determined to demonstrate his family’s support for the charity and has entered them into this year’s 2K Family Run, raising much needed funds for the Welsh charity.
Shaun said: “Coming to terms that I will be living with renal failure for the rest of my life is tough, but having the support from my family and the Kidney Wales Foundation has been a huge help. I am currently having dialysis treatment in Llantristant’s dialysis unit three times a week and although it is tough, I know it is the best thing for me.
“Sometimes I get home and the children have already gone to bed and I haven’t had chance to see them, and it can get me down, but knowing that I can now manage my illness has given us hope and who knows I may be able to get another transplant one day. Being able to do something to raise awareness of the illness is really rewarding and I cannot wait to walk side-by-side with my family on race day.”
Roy Thomas, Chief Executive of Kidney Wales said: “It’s so encouraging to see families like Shaun and Gemma’s getting together to take part in our Cardiff 2K Family Run to raise awareness of renal failure in Wales and supporting each other in times of need. It is my hope that another kidney becomes available for Shaun and I wish the family the best of luck on race day.”
Registration for the 2016 Cardiff 2K and 10K events is now open and people of all ages and abilities are encouraged to get involved with the iconic city centre road race.
To find out more about the event, to sign up or to help raise money and awareness for Kidney Wales, please visit the Cardiff 10K website: www.cardiff10K.cymru or call (029) 2034 3951.