Support for children and families can be invaluable

Steve's baby daughter made amazing progress this week, or so his wife thought

STEVE CANAVAN: It was a lot of rattle over just a little roll

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Around 150 children in the United Kingdom have a kidney transplant each year. We can only imagine what it must be like for both them and their families to face such a big ordeal.

But Ed and Siobhan Goncalves and their twin sons Luis and Joe know exactly what’s it like.

Because almost a year ago Luis received one of his dad’s kidneys in an operation that changed his life.

There were no children’s kidney patient groups at the time. So now the family from Gosport want to help others who find themselves in the same situation and have launched a national charity called Kidney Kids.

They appreciate only too well how important support is when you’re going through the transplant process and want the charity to be there for people in their times of need.

As Ed says: ‘When your kid is ill that’s a pretty difficult situation. Going through it on your own, or feeling like you’re on your own, is much, much worse. This is designed to address that – we’re there to support one another.’

It’s a great idea and we’re delighted that the Goncalves family want to use their experiences to help others. A support network for children undergoing transplants and their families can be invaluable on both a practical and emotional level.

They also know that humour helps – so Joe is now designing a jokebook to cheer up children on dialysis.

Now the key is to raise awareness of the charity and we’re delighted to do all we can to help.

The Goncalves family also launched a campaign last year to get an opt-out organ donor system adopted in England and again we support them in their continuing efforts to see that introduced.

It’s heartening to be able to report that 10-year-old Luis, who was on dialysis and underwent 10 operations before he and Ed went ahead with the transplant on March 19 last year, is doing well.

It says so much about him that he is now thinking of how he can provide support to others. We wish him and his family all the very best for the future and hope their charity proves to be a big success.