Siblings take on charity ride to mark kidney transplant anniversary

Ian and Jenni Rodd are taking on a cycle challenge for Kidney Research UK to mark a year since Ian gave Jenni a kidney

Ian and Jenni Rodd are taking on a cycle challenge for Kidney Research UK to mark a year since Ian gave Jenni a kidney - Credit: Courtesy of Ian Rodd

A year after a brother successfully donated a kidney to his Melbourn professor sister, the pair are are taking on a fundraising cycle ride for charity.

When Melbourn's Prof Jenni Rodd needed a transplant after suffering renal failure, brother, Dr Ian Rodd was found to be a match. 

Ian and Jenni Rodd are taking on a cycle challenge for Kidney Research UK

Jenni Rodd had a kidney donated to her by her brother a year ago - and wanted to raise awareness of transplants and what they can do, as she now is set to take on a cycling challenge - Credit: Jenni Rodd

Jenni told the Crow: "My kidney function had been declining for a few years, and it got to the point where a transplant would be my 'least worst' option.

"Ian raised the topic with me, which was incredibly helpful because these are difficult conversations to have. He said he would consider donating his kidney. I had it in my head that it would be really difficult to ask. 

"He's a doctor so he understands the risks and the pros and cons that go with the process far better than I do, so it was a relief."

Ian and Jenni Rodd are taking on a cycle challenge for Kidney Research UK to mark a year since Ian gave Jenni a kidney

Ian and Jenni Rodd are taking on a cycle challenge for Kidney Research UK to mark a year since Ian gave Jenni a kidney - Credit: Courtesy of Ian Rodd


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Ian is a general paediatrician based in Hampshire, who has an interest in nephrology -  so "knew some of what was ahead" but he said he hadn't dealt with a kidney transplant before.

He said: "If your lungs are failing you know you're breathless, if your heart is failing you know you have chest pain - but if your kidney's are failing you don't know until you have a blood test.

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"The team in Portsmouth who dealt with me were amazing, I had a lot of tests and it was a long process but we were really lucky.

"In September, between the first and second lockdown we had the operations at Addenbrooke's Hospital."

Addenbrooke's Hospital [Picture: Google]

Addenbrooke's Hospital [Picture: Google] - Credit: Archant

A year ago on September 16, they were admitted. First Ian had a kidney removed, and then it was plumbed into Jenni later that day.

Ian said: "What was really important for me was seeing the number of steps they had to get right - its an incredibly complicated surgery. I was back in home in Hampshire from Cambridge in 36 hours. 

"The investigations, care and expertise that brought us to that day, and all the subsequent aftercare has meant that a year later we are both doing really well, and able to prepare for, and hopefully complete our first cycle together.

Jenni said: "I wasn't well enough to properly process the magnitude of what I was going through at the time. It wasn't until the months afterwards when I could properly process what Ian had done for me. In the early days I was putting one foot in front of another and taking it one day at a time. 

"But when I was able to I thought about what an amazing thing Ian had done and what an amazing thing the team at Addenbrooke's had done."

Jenni, who is a professor department of experimental psychology at University College London, was back on her bike within two months of the operation and set herself the target of riding 50 miles six months after the operation.

That's where the idea of the ride came from, after a conversation between the siblings of what they wanted to achieve - they set their sights on a fundraiser for Kidney Research UK, travelling between their two hospitals. 

The 150-mile ride is planned for this Saturday - but if the weather isn't suitable they will reschedule. Ian will go from the hospital in Portsmouth and cycle 50 miles before Jenni takes on the final 100 miles with him to Addenbrooke's.

Jenni said: "My medical team wanted to me to get active, and that was key to my recovery. I got to know my local area better than I ever have out on walks and through cycling.

"I am now fitter than I have ever been - I don't have Ian's history of long distance cycling, so it will be something difficult for me. I just wanted to do something 'concrete' to show what is possible.

"I met someone in the village before the operation, who said he had a kidney transplant years ago, and he was fine. So transplant went from this big horrible scary word to something so positive. 

Ian said:. "The decision to be a donor is a really important conversation to have. If you do choose to do it, it can absolutely make a world of difference."

To donate to Ian and Jenni's 'four legs, two kidneys' donations page, search Ian Rodd at justgiving.com.

Kidney Research UK carries out vital research, with the aim of ending kidney disease.

To find out more about Kidney Research UK, go to https://kidneyresearchuk.org/. 

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