After I was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease in my mid-20s, my life changed in ways I never imagined. Over time I’ve developed a real passion for encouraging other people with chronic health conditions to see themselves are more than just their diagnoses. I believe it’s important to acknowledge the many and varied transferrable skills all of us have gained through learning to navigate life with the added complications a chronic illness can bring.
Through my writing, public speaking and various leadership roles, I have developed a rapidly growing platform that allows me to advocate for patient choice, shared decision making and better mental health support for those with chronic conditions. I recognise that the ability to keep my own wishes and the things that matter to me at the heart of my treatment decisions is what has allowed me to cope with the sometimes very challenging circumstances I have had to face.
In addition to writing this blog, I am currently the Patient Involvement Facilitator for the Kidney Patient Involvement Network (KPIN) and a member of NHS England’s Personalised Care Strategic Coproduction Group. In 2016 I co-founded the Young Adult Kidney Group, and now work in partnership with Kidney Care UK to support over 750 kidney patients aged 18-30 across the UK. I am incredibly proud of what the YAKG has achieved and the community we have created.
I also hold a wide range of advisory positions within the renal and wider chronic illness community. I’m proud to be a patient ambassador for the European Society of Transplantation (ESOT), a member of the Trial Management Group for the OCTAVE-DUO study into Covid-19 vaccine efficacy, and a member of numerous NHS England advisory boards. Most recently, I have joined Cochrane UK as a Consumer Champion.
I am an experienced public speaker and have presented at the NHS Leadership Academy, UK Kidney Week, ESOT Congress, Peoplehub and The Queen’s Nursing Institute, as well as developing and leading workshops for NHS England’s Peer Leadership Development Programme and the Global Renal Exercise Network. My writing has been published in Clinical Kidney Journal, Kidney Matters magazine and as part of several World Kidney Day promotional campaigns. I am also a qualified teacher, holding a Bachelor of Arts (Sociology) and Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning (Primary) from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand.