A 25-strong team of walkers have raised over £9,000 for hospital equipment that will enable liver-transplant patients to enjoy a new lease of life.
The charity event was organised by Leighton Buzzard grandparents Keith and Lesley Brazier who successfully underwent a unique simultaneous life-changing “live” liver transplant six years ago.
Family and friends joined forces last weekend to complete a 68-mile walk from Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge, following the Greensand Ridge trail through Cambridgeshire, Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire, before returning to Leighton Buzzard’s Plantation Road golf club for a thank you reception.
The team included Keith and Lesley’s three sons, Daniel who flew in from Sweden for the event, Russell who lives in Little Brickhill and Simon, who flew home from Victoria, Canada to take part.
The money they raised on their three-day ‘walkathon’ is to go to Addenbrookes where Lesley donated around two-thirds of her liver to husband Keith in a “real time” double procedure involving a 20-strong team of surgeons, doctors and nurses working in adjoining operating theatres for more than 12 hours. The operation was the first of its kind to be carried out at Addenbrookes, with Lesley, 59 at the time, the UK’s oldest live-liver transplant donor.
And though Keith, now 67, continues to take anti-rejection medication, both he and Lesley have made full recoveries and are leading normal lives.
The money raised is to fund the acquisition of a new liver profusion machine which maintains the viability of the organ for transplant for up to 24 hours, compared to eight hours by conventional methods at present. That enables more tests to be made on the donor organ and up to 30 extra transplants a year to be carried out.
Lesley said: “Keith and I were overwhelmed by the response we received for the charity walk, and we very much appreciate the contribution everyone has made for such a worthy cause.
“The skills of the medical team at Addenbrookes gave Keith a new lease of life, and we would like to think the efforts of our family and friends will help others who face the kind of challenge we faced six years ago.”
The walk was also in memory of a life-long family friend, Eddie Young, who died earlier this year. His family donated his organs so others could live, just as Eddie had wished.