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Issue:- 17 April 2014

Kidney transplant patient completes 150-mile trek back to hospital

Consultant transplant surgeon Sanjay Mehra with Ninette Thomas after she walked 150 miles in 12 days to reach the Royal Liverpool University Hospital.

A fitness instructor who had two kidney transplants at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital has completed a 150 mile walk across North Wales to the hospital she credits with saving her life.  Ninette Thomas, 53, of Abergele, who underwent two kidney transplant operations at the Royal in 2006 and 2012, was welcomed with balloons and flowers after journeying for 12 days along the Wales Coast Path from Holyhead to the hospital, which houses a regional transplant unit carrying out 100 kidney transplants every year.  She underwent her 1st kidney transplant in January 2006 after a childhood degenerative disease scarred her kidneys. That kidney would only function for 6½ years, so in 2012 she received another.  Setting off on 29 March 2014 and tackling 12 to 16 miles each day, Ninette finished two days earlier than planned on Friday, 11 April 2014. She got a lift home each evening during the 2 week trek before starting again the next morning where she left off, with the Rotary Club in Abergele sponsoring fuel and travel costs.

Ninette Thomas and her family display the customised high-vis vests they wore for the 150-mile walk from Holyhead to the Royal Liverpool University Hospital.

The mum-of-3, who works as an instructor at Colwyn Leisure Centre in Colwyn Bay, said:- "After the second transplant, I noticed a lot of patients gave chocolate biscuits," she added. "Bearing in mind you've had a £40,000 operation and staff are highly trained, a box of biscuits didn't seem to fit the bill to me.  I said when I'm fit and well, I'll find something to do which will hopefully raise them a lot of money. The dialysis machines have saved my life twice so I said I'd try to help them raise as much money as possible for new dialysis equipment."

Ninette Thomas opens a well-deserved bottle of bubbly after her 150-mile trek.Ninette had 6 months off work following her transplant in May 2012, eventually returning to light duties before taking classes again in February 2013.  While recovering, she read '500 Mile Walkies' by Mark Wallington, who walked the south coast of England with his dog, and was inspired to attempt a similar feat. She was joined on the walk by family and friends, including her sister Anne-Marie Nicholas, her husband Raymond Nicholas, her brother Howard and wife Carole, and her nephew Gareth Jenkins and his wife Helen.  Ninette has raised around £4,000, with hundreds collected at a darts match at Colwyn Bay Leisure Centre, and the full amount will be doubled by the Barclay's Charitable Trust.

The surgeon that carried out 1 of Ninette's transplant operations, Sanjay Mehra said:- "We see patients in a very difficult situation under dialysis. But once they have a transplant they can often go back to work, do what they want to do and eat what they want to eat. It is very rewarding seeing the patients get so much better.  It is great that Nin can raise awareness of the value of kidney transplants and raise money so that other patients can benefit.  My family are already talking about us walking all the way around Anglesey next year, but I want to get over this first!"

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Victory for Lib Dems as MEPs approve safer lorry designs

NORTH West Euro-MP Chris Davies has welcomed a European Parliament vote to improve lorry safety through tougher design standards today, with 606 MEPs voting for and just 54 against. Under changes pushed for by Liberal Democrat MEPs, the design of lorry cabs are set to be changed to reduce the number of blind spots under the front windscreen and the side of the vehicle. The new designs would also include safer cab fronts to reduce damage caused by impacts with cyclists and pedestrians. It is thought the proposal and could help prevent dozens of fatal accidents each year. Davies recently met with the Olympic gold medal-winning cyclist Chris Boardman to discuss the EU proposals. Boardman, who was born and lives in Wirral, is also well-known for his campaign work in favour of tighter rules to improve road safety for cyclists. Davies said:- "This vote is a victory for all the campaigners in the North West who have worked so hard to bring about these life-saving changes to lorry design. This shows that when individuals engage with their MEPs they can affect the outcome of EU decisions and bring about real change. Redesigned lorry cabs with a curvy nose, a crash box and better vision for drivers will drastically improve lorry safety and prevent hundreds of fatal collisions every year. With the lorries on our roads coming from all over Europe, it is especially important that we act at the European level on this issue and ensure that the vehicles on our roads meet safety standards." Do you agree or disagree with this? Email your views to us at:-

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