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Jess's story

Jess knows what it’s like to receive a life-changing gift.

When Jess was 18, she was diagnosed with IgA nephropathy. This form of kidney disease has no known cause. For reasons not yet understood, a protein produced by the body’s immune system is deposited in the kidneys causing permanent damage.

Most people with this condition find their kidney function slowly worsens over 10-20 years.

Jess said, For me it was aggressive. Just two years later, my kidneys failed.

At 20, most young people are having fun. They’re going out with their friends. They’re finding out who they are. They may even be travelling the world. Jess wasn’t.

As Jess found out, kidney disease has the power to change the course of your life. There may be many wonderful people—friends and family—who give you, their support.

But you can still feel very scared and alone.

Jess’s first transplant from her uncle was successful - but they all knew her new kidney would also slowly become damaged.

Years passed then Jess and her partner, Luke wanted to start a family.

Jess became pregnant a short time later. When her kidney function began to decline again, baby Harvey was delivered early and thankfully safely. He came home a few days before Christmas.

But Jess needed another transplant so Jess’s brother, Brad, stepped forward to donate a kidney a short time later.

Like many people with kidney disease, Jess has had a tough time. "There is nothing I can ever do to match the generosity of my uncle and then my brother,” she says.

"So I’m going to try and pay it forward instead. I’ve signed up to become a Kidney Buddy to hopefully make someone else’s journey a little easier."

Click here to help more people with kidney disease like Jess access the vital services they need to live their best lives.