‘How could I not want to give back to an organisation that gives out so much? Especially when I know that one day, I’ll need them more than I ever have before.’
When Kieran Loftus was rushed to the liver intensive care unit at King’s in 2012 due to a bleed around his liver, he didn’t realise it was the beginning of a new relationship.
It became a long, sometimes challenging, but always special relationship. A relationship that Kieran values so highly that he’s now taking on a running challenge that lasts for the whole of 2016, all to raise funds for King’s Liver Unit and raise awareness of the importance of organ donation.
Kieran suffers from an auto-immune disease of the bile ducts which affects his liver and blood stream, causing fatigue, jaundice and general ill health. It will eventually result in him needing a liver transplant. When his condition worsened in 2012, he was referred to King’s and ended up staying for over a month, and returning frequently due to flare-ups and infections.
‘In that first month, the King’s staff – doctors, nurses, healthcare assistants, the transplant team, dieticians, technicians, porters, and many others in a long list – made sure I was cared for in the best possible way. They took me from a critical condition and placed me on firm footing, ensuring I recovered as best I could,’ says Kieran.
‘I’ve always felt safe in the knowledge that when, ultimately and inevitably, my illness does bring me to the brink, King’s College Hospital and its staff will be there to support me and treat me with the best possible care.’
A wide reach
It was not only his own treatment that impressed him, but witnessing how his fellow patients improved thanks to the care of King’s staff.
‘I’ve seen a father, who received of a liver transplant, enjoying the company of his little girl – and I’d seen him in an induced and critical state not a few days earlier,’ he says. ‘Observing the real benefit people gain from the care and treatment they receive at King’s greatly influenced my decision to raise money for the hospital.’
Fit for King’s!
Kieran’s year-long challenge is to run one race of at least 10 kilometres for every month of 2016. He kicked off in January with a trail run in East Sussex, which he describes as, ‘challenging but beautifully scenic…with a lot of mud!’
Kieran has already raised over £1,100 and has two more events planned in London and Kent, with more to follow. He’ll also be running alongside friends and family when possible.
‘This will hopefully encourage more and more people to donate, and raise as much money as possible for King’s, says Kieran. ‘Running with other people also means that if I’m too unwell to run, the race can still be completed and money can still be raised.’
A blossoming relationship
Kieran’s dedication to the cause and his relationship with King’s is clear. He has set up a Facebook page which he uses to blog his training progress, race information and run results, as well as stories from King’s and articles about organ donation. He is also connecting with various companies to ask their support in exchange for promotion through his posts and runs.
‘I am very grateful to everyone who is actively taking part, as well as donating,’ says Kieran. ‘King’s looks after all of us at our most vulnerable, protects and cares for us and our families when we most need it to, and as with every part of the NHS, does so freely and without discrimination.
‘Supporting the hospital in any way you can, helping to ensure it continues to do what it already does and potentially even more, has to be a good thing.’
Show Kieran support by donating on his JustGiving page. If you or a family member have found yourself in a relationship with King’s like Kieran, why not get involved and support the hospital just like he has! Here’s some ideas of how.