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Tonna transplant survivor to step up for fundraiser

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: January 31, 2013

Rae Hockin (second left) and Janet Evans (third from left) with Captain Beany, Tony Wyn-Jones, of Radio Tir Coed, Neath Port Talbot Mayor Martyn Peters and Mayoress Rita Peters at the launch of Walk for Life, which will take place along Aberavon seafront

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IN the early 1990s Janet Evans’s life was turned upside down when her kidneys failed.

For years she endured gruelling dialysis sessions, but in 2007 she give an amazing gift — a new kidney.

And now, almost six years after that life-changing transplant, she is helping organise the fifth annual Walk for Life in aid of charity.

“Words cannot express the gratitude I felt for such a selfless act,” she said.

“Out of someone’s grief and selflessness, I have had my life back.

“Kidney disease does not only affect the patient but also their loved ones.”

As part of the Aberafan committee — made up of six people — Mrs Evans, from Tonna, is helping to organise the Aberavon Walk For Life in aid of Kidney Wales Foundation.

The committee also includes her husband Martin, Clive Griffiths, of Cadoxton, who was fortunate to have received a kidney from his mother Rosemarie Griffiths more than 30 years ago, and Rae and Clive Hockin.

Mrs Hockin is involved because she donated a kidney to her grandson, Luke.

Last year 160 people took part in the annual walk along Aberavon seafront and raised £6,000 for the foundation.

“It has been growing every year,” said Mrs Evans, 56. “It has been going from strength to strength.

“We are hoping it will once again be a success.

“We have people who do it each year and we have acquired new people.

“We have got a group of paramedics who are very supportive.

“Last time, the night before, they took someone to Cardiff for a transplant.”

Mrs Evans had to travel to Morriston Hospital three times a week for haemodialysis.

“In the past people have gone to Cardiff, so I was lucky,” she said. “I did that for seven years.

“I could only take in 500 millilitres a day.

“It was very difficult with fluid restriction, especially in the summer.

“It is very isolating. When you are on dialysis it drains you. It is like a part-time job.”

She added: “When you are on dialysis you survive, when you have a transplant you live.”

Mrs Evans, whose children are 27 and 24, said it was just not just about fundraising but also about raising awareness of Kidney Foundation Wales.

“It was so nice to see all the blue T-shirts on the prom last year,” she said. “Unless you have been touched by kidney disease you don’t think about it, but so many people are affected and you don’t realise.

“It does not just affect the person but all their loved ones.”

This year’s Walk For Life will be on Sunday, March 24. It will kick off at 2.30pm from Franco’s on Aberavon seafront. Radio Tircoed will be broadcasting live from the event.

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