Durham alumnus embarks on 1000 mile walk for Kidney Research UK

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Tom Goodwin, a St Cuthbert’s Society alumnus, is walking one thousand miles from Land’s End to John O’Groats to raise money for Kidney Research UK. The 33-year-old was born with two additional kidneys – a condition known as bilateral duplex kidney disorder. 

Dubbing himself “Kidney Tom”, in reference to the late NHS fundraiser Sir Captain Tom, Goodwin set himself a fundraising target of £10,000, and has already raised £5,000.

Goodwin said: “I am challenging myself to raise £10,000 in support of lifesaving research for over three million people diagnosed with chronic kidney disease each year in the UK”.

Goodwin had one of his kidneys removed when he was nine months old after he experienced febrile convulsions. On his admission to hospital, the condition was spotted, and he has had no further complications with the disorder – which normally does not require treatment – to this date.

“Telling positive stories about people that want to give back is important.”

Tom Goodwin

The PPE graduate visited his former college on the 23rd of September as he passed through Durham on his way to John O’Groats.

His stop-off at St Cuthbert’s Society was just one of many on his route; Goodwin has also met several prominent nephrologists – physicians specialising in kidney research – along the way, including the Noble Prize winner Sir Peter Ratcliffe, Dr. Mark Woodward (who treated him at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children in 1989), and Professor Rachel Lennon at the University of Manchester.

The progress that has been made since Goodwin was diagnosed at nine months old, and the optimism that he saw in the nephrologists he met have inspired him further. Research has indicated that a cure for Kidney Disease could be found within a generation if research continues at its current pace.

“Today my bilateral duplex kidneys would be identified at birth due to advances in healthcare technology. Such recent improvements in renal care are only made possible thanks to funding via charities like Kidney Research UK.”

Goodwin credits his Durham education with helping to inspire him to undertake such a challenge, specifically mentioning the speech Bill Bryson made at his 2009 graduation with a focus on the importance of “giving something back”.

“I really wanted to tell a positive story, quite often on TV you just see how tough the disease is. I think the times are changing and telling positive stories about people that want to give back is important.”

Goodwin also described the detrimental effect that the pandemic has had on charities, like Kidney Research UK, as one of his main motivators.

“Ask any charity about how the pandemic has affected them, and they can tell you how about half of their funding has just gone.”

Goodwin expects to reach John O’Groats in mid-October after walking for about two months, having left Land’s End in August.

You can follow his journey on his Instagram page, and you can donate here.

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