Caroline celebrates 10 year anniversary of kidney transplant that gave her new lease of life
A decade ago, a career in the fitness industry would have been unthinkable for Caroline Wright, as her life revolved around visiting Scarborough Hospital three days a week for dialysis.
But yesterday, Caroline, a local Zumba instructor, celebrated the 10-year anniversary of the double kidney transplant that changed her life.
Caroline, 52, who first moved to Scarborough 17 years ago, was on dialysis for four years after her own kidneys failed in 2006, while still trying to raise her two young sons.
She received 15 hours of dialysis a week, until a call came through in the early hours of March 11 2010 telling her to get to St James’ Hospital in Leeds for 6am the next day.
After waiting at the hospital all day she was finally taken to theatre for a six-hour operation in which a donor organ was placed in the front of her body to replace her failed kidneys, though they remain in place.
She was discharged from hospital a week later.
“I recovered really well and the operation gave me a new lease of life,” Caroline said. “When you’re dialysing your life is regimented and after the operation I had more energy and I decided to get fit.
“I used to do aerobics years and years ago and Zumba was the big thing after my operation and my friends were all going.”
She went along and really enjoyed the class, so much so that on the fifth anniversary of her transplant she decided to take a training course to become an instructor herself and now teaches the class in East Ayton that she originally attended.
Doctors first noticed a problem with Caroline’s kidneys when she was pregnant but still don’t know what caused them to fail.
She has to take anti-rejection medication every day for the rest of her life.
She explained: “I’ve still got kidney failure, the transplant is a treatment not a cure.
“I just have to really look after myself.”
March 18 will be the five-year anniversary of the first Zumba class she taught and Caroline has also since qualified as a professional fitness instructor.
She is currently training to become a specialist instructor for people with additional learning needs.
She teaches classes at Ayton Village Hall, Cayton Village Hall and Cherry Tree Lodge.
Caroline said she will forever be “eternally grateful” to the donor whose kidneys she received, and she was able to write to his family and was sent a letter back from his wife and daughter.
In May 2020, donor laws for over 18s in England will change to an opt-out system.
“I quite agree with that,” said Caroline. “There are so many people who die waiting.”
To mark World Kidney Day today (March 12), Caroline is keen to promote the work of the charity Kidney Research Yorkshire.