I’m Katherine, I’m 25, and I have end stage renal failure caused by a genetic mutation. I was diagnosed in 2008 and I was on peritoneal dialysis for seven months before I received a transplant from my mum.
I was lucky enough to have my mum’s kidney for six wonderful years. It allowed me to continue living a normal life. I travelled to France in 2010 and took part in the World Winter Transplant Games. In 2012 I travelled to France and Bulgaria to compete and train in rhythmic gymnastics, and early in 2014 I travelled to America to compete in two rhythmic competitions. I was able to finish high school, get my vet nursing degree and start a full-time job. I also attended several Kidney Kids camps. These camps were very special to me. I made many great friends and overcame lots of challenges. I’m still in contact with many of my kidney kid friends.
Sadly, in December 2014 I was told my kidney was failing and in June 2015 it was removed. I went back onto haemodialysis for five months then back onto peritoneal dialysis. I never let that stop me. In 2016 I went back to gymnastics. In 2017 I represented New Zealand in Level 10 at the Australian Nationals and in 2018 I got to travel to Europe (Belarus, Russia, Bulgaria) to compete in two World Cups and a World Championships. All while on dialysis – I just took my supplies and my boxes were all shipped to my destination.
My journey has been tough at times. I have good days when I feel great and bad days when I have to stay home all day. I think of the things I can control like what I eat and drink and my attitude. I do the best I can. I’m proud to be an Ambassador for Kidney Kids and happy to give back to this great organisation to support the kids.
Walter Neilands is a Kiwi TV personality, best known for hosting TV3 children’s programme Sticky TV and starring on several other TV shows including the 2019 season of Dancing with the Stars, where he wowed the nation (and judges) by back flipping off the judges table!
Walter is proud to be a Kidney Kids ambassador and loves getting involved in our fundraising activities and events. Walter is leading the Water in Schools project, encouraging all children to drink water instead of sugar-based drinks.
Walter loves hanging out with our kidney kids and their families, supporting them on their journey. With his infectious energy and huge grin, Walter inspires our kids to be the best they can despite the challenges along the way.
We are privileged to have former All Black and Fijian rugby union football player Joeli Vidiri as an ambassador for Kidney Kids. Joeli battled kidney disease for a decade and was on haemodialysis for several years before receiving a kidney transplant in 2015.
After receiving his transplant, Joeli pioneered the Sports for Health programme in Fiji to educate children on the importance of leading an active and healthy lifestyle. Joeli is a well-respected member of the community, especially to the kidney kids who love seeing him at social events – a recent highlight of which was Christmas where Joeli dressed up as Santa.