In an act of kindness and solidarity, the RelateCare Continuous Improvement Team have gone bald and shaved their heads to raise money for the Irish Kidney Association (IKA).
The chosen charity is not without meaning as our colleague of 11 years, Hugh Magee, has been receiving incredible support from the IKA this past few years as he bravely deals with ongoing kidney failure, daily dialysis treatment and the difficult wait for a transplant. Hugh’s wife Angela, who has been supporting him through this all, is also a long-term employee of RelateCare and the team wished to do something to offer their support in such a trying time.
It is a testament to the care and fondness for Hugh and Angela within the RelateCare and Rigneydolphin teams that this idea has come to life. And thanks to the creative imaginations of the CI team, made up of Ian Gourlay, Ali Tammagus and Jason Power who were willing to shave their heads!
We spoke to Hugh recently to find out more about what he is going through, and to ask him about the mission of Irish Kidney Association and how it has helped him personally.
Hugh explained: “the Irish Kidney Association is a charity who are dedicated to meeting the needs of renal patients who have kidney disease and end stage renal failure. Further to this the IKA also help the families of patients and their carer’s. These needs are spread across all aspects of life – medical, social, and psychological. The profile of the kidney patient ranges from infanthood to the elderly who are undergoing various methods of treatment – haemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis and kidney transplantation.”
In terms of Hugh’s own situation, this past year and the pandemic has made things increasingly difficult for a number of reasons.
Hugh tells us, “In 2007 I was diagnosed with a hereditary Polycystic kidney disease, causing my kidneys to enlarge and lose function over time. My kidney function has reduced greatly over last number of years leading me to needing life-saving treatment of Dialysis in 2020. Dialysis treatment does the work my kidneys can’t do. I attend Dialysis three days a week for four-hour sessions, which can be very tiring on the body afterwards. Being so ill at times has led to other illness’s where I have had to spend weeks away from home in hospital.”
All of this was then further complicated when also contracted COVID during one of his inpatient stays. This has meant that Hugh’s place on the transplant list was temporarily paused while other illness are treated.
“It’s been very difficult dealing with this during the pandemic, but I have had amazing support from my wife Angela, my family, IKA, my employer and friends. I currently write a weekly blog on Facebook called “My Funky Kidneys” about my journey where I discuss my highs and lows. This has been a great avenue for me to share my journey and possibly help anyone else who is or could be going through the same journey I am.”
Hugh expressed his deepest gratitude to the RelateCare and Rigneydolphin teams for the effort in the head-shaving fundraise: “The IKA fundraising program has been impacted during the pandemic and limited due to current restrictions. The head shave fundraiser is fantastic idea, and I am honoured this is being done on my behalf for a charity very close to my heart. It really means a lot to me and thank you all!”
In support of Hugh, RelateCare will be making a donation to the Irish Kidney Association to aid in their mission to help people who are in need.
If you’d like to follow Hugh’s stories, please check out his blog My Funky Kidneys, where Hugh writes about his experience and journey!
Stay tuned for more details regarding our charitable giving function moving forward where you can suggest a charity to donate to!