A grandmother on dialysis who cannot go abroad to meet her grandchildren is appealing for people to donate kidneys.
Kathy Varney, 66, from Mawnan Smith goes to the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro for dialysis sessions three days a week.
Mrs Varney said: “I have a son in Spain and two grandsons I have never met because I can’t fly. It’s terrible at this time of year.”
This Christmas Mrs Varney will be continuing with her dialysis along with dozens of other patients with appointments on December 23 and 26.
She said: “I will continue having dialysis until somebody comes up with a transplant and there are lots of people in my situation.”
Mrs Varney said nothing could have prepared her for the impact acute kidney problems would have on her life.
“My life has changed so much. I used to travel a lot, now I’m grounded,” she said.
“Three days a week I’m in here and the next day you’re tired. It’s put my life on hold really.”
Mrs Varney, who has a another son and two grandchildren in the UK, was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease last year.
She said: “The consultant said if I did not go on dialysis my days were numbered.
“If people only looked at what we go through. We find it more difficult to walk, we lose our hair, we lose our memory. I can go shopping and only be out an hour or two and I’m shattered.”
According to the Give A Kidney charity, although the UK performs more than 2,500 kidney transplants a year, there are more than 7,000 people waiting for a kidney transplant, of whom 300 die each year.
Julie Shepstow, staff nurse on the acute renal unit, said the hospital was treating 70 to 75 patients at any one time.
“It’s a whole different way of life,” she said.
“We try and keep things light and build up a relationship with the patients. It does make you think more about donor cards.”
Mrs Varney said she would like to see more publicity to encourage people to donate kidneys.
“It would be great if people would donate to help people like us,” she said.
“As long as I can get to see my grandsons grow up I’ll be happy.”