A DONCASTER dad has told how kidney disease tore his family apart after his ex-wife was struck, and eventually killed, by the condition.
Simon Braiden’s daughter Emma was left without a mother after the disease claimed the life of his former wife Debbie, aged just 45.
Debbie had needed dialysis since she was hit by complications during pregnancy in 1994.
But she died in Doncaster Royal Infirmary during a dialysis session after suffering a heart attack related to her renal failure, he said.
Simon, a 45-year-old prison officer at HMP Moorland, said he now wants people to know how widespread and serious kidney disease is.
He met Debbie while they were both working for Pizza Hut in Sheffield. They moved to Doncaster 11 years ago.
He said: “We met in the 1980s and got married - but we eventually split up because of stress from the illness.
“I became Debbie’s carer and I couldn’t get enough support. It was so much pressure. I would spend three evenings a week helping with dialysis. I had been caring for her for 11 years.
“She had kidney problems as a result of pre-eclampsia while she was pregnant, and we struggled on for years and years.
“It was about a week before she had her Caesarean that she suffered pre-eclampsia. Her blood pressure went sky-high. We had our daughter six weeks early.
“She was ill for a few days after her Caesarean. Then a week later she became very, very ill and was put into intensive care. That was when we realised her kidneys had failed.”
Debbie had a kidney transplant in 1998, but it was not successful. She was eventually suspended from the transplant list because of a weakened heart.
After the couple split, Emma lived with her dad, although Debbie still lived nearby.
Simon, who has re-married to wife Claire since his split from Debbie, said: “Her death left our daughter without a mother at the age of 15.
“She was only 45 when she died. Even though we had split up it was still a massive shock - we were still good friends.
“I had to support my daughter a lot, because clearly it had a huge impact on her. It has been very difficult to help her through. It left a big hole even though we were no longer together.”
Simon is now a keen supporter of kidney charities and he and pal Paul Thompson recently raised £832 for Kidney Research UK by rowing a marathon on indoor rowing machines.
He said: “They call kidney disease a silent epidemic, and it can hit anyone. That is why it is important to support the charity.
“People think dialysis is a cure, but it isn’t. It just helps you exist. I don’t want people to go through what we went through. I either broke down or stepped away. I want people to be aware what it is like.”
He said of 7,655 people on the organ transplant list, around 7,000 are on there for kidneys, and there are 43,000 people undergoing dialysis or transplant treatment.