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When you live with kidney failure, taking a break is not as easy as booking a flight and packing a bag.

In fact, for most Australians on life-saving dialysis, taking an extended break is just not possible, because dialysis isn’t something you can just put on hold.

Life with kidney disease not only revolves around dialysis; it depends upon it. Returning to a dialysis chair three days a week, for five hours at a time, week after week, it’s relentless and it is exhausting.

Ana was just 22 when her life was changed forever by kidney failure. Since then, she has had to rely on her own personal strength and determination, the love of her family and her partner, Alfredo, many times.

“It was my mum who picked up that something was very wrong. I had constant nosebleeds, and my sight was getting worse. She took me to the hospital, where I was diagnosed with kidney failure. I had to start dialysis immediately,” said Ana.
“In my first two dialysis sessions, I lost 15 kilograms, just in fluid. I felt frustrated, angry and sad. I was living my dream, and suddenly everything turned upside down.”

Ana was lucky enough to receive a kidney transplant from her mother just three months later. But her diagnosis at such a young age was just the beginning of many challenges.

She has felt the transformation of a kidney transplant twice, battled, and survived breast cancer twice - and has now been on dialysis for nine years, waiting for a new donor kidney.

"When I’m sitting in a dialysis chair, which happens every week, three times a week, for five hours, there is a lot of time to think. Some days it is hard to keep the negative thoughts, the pain, and the constant struggle out of my mind."

The Big Red Kidney Bus offers people like Ana a rare chance to take much needed break in a beautiful location, while accessing lifesaving dialysis. It is a service made possible by the ongoing generosity of our partners and donors.

“To be in nature, away from the hospital, gives me a break and gives me hope - and this is only possible because I can do dialysis on the Bus,” she says.

Ana first boarded the Big Red Kidney Bus in 2019. Now she eagerly re-books a chair on the bus as often as she can. Ana and her loving husband, Alfredo have been all over New South Wales and visited Victoria exploring, relaxing and escaping the daily impact of dialysis, thanks to people like you.

Click here to support the Big Red Kidney Bus Program.