Mansion House Opens its Doors to the Paul Popham Fund

Last week, the Lord Mayor opened the doors to the Mansion House in Swansea to host an awareness and fund raising event on behalf of the Paul Popham Fund Renal Support Wales.

The cheese and wine evening was attended by around 40 guests including representatives from the charity, trustees, runners from the Paul Popham Running Club and other supporters of the charity as well as kidney patients.

The Lord Mayor opened the event and welcomed guest to the Mansion House, whilst Claire Popham gave guests an overview of the charity’s work and achievements to date.

The event raised around £400 for the Paul Popham Fund and these funds will be used to send children with kidney disease to a weekend away at Newgale in Pembrokeshire.

The evening was sponsored by NDJ John Wine Merchants, Castell Howell, ASDA in Gorseinon and Capital Estates who gave a financial donation.

Three Year National Lottery Grant for Paul Popham Fund

The Paul Popham Fund Renal Support Wales has received a three-year grant from The National Lottery.  The grant has been allocated to develop the fund’s Befriending and Counselling Services across South, East and parts of Mid Wales.

Since the Paul Popham Fund re-launched the kidney patient befriending service in May 2016, the project has gone from strength to strength. Initially, the fund had 4 befrienders who at that time supported 10 patients; today there are 15 befrienders who have supported over 200 patients.

Befrienders are volunteers who have first-hand experience of renal disease and so understand what the patients are going through, as well as their fears and concerns about their diagnosis.  Anyone who signs up to become a befriender is given specialist training by a clinical psychologist and receives support from the charity as well as the team at the renal unit.

Says Joanne Popham, CEO of the Paul Popham Fund Renal Support Wales, “We are delighted to be receiving a grant from The National Lottery Medium Grant to help us develop our Befriending and Counselling Service across key areas in Wales. This grant will give us the time, funds and resources to be able to deliver much needed support services to kidney patients. Diolch!”

Fund Announces Date for First Patients Education Conference

The Paul Popham Renal Fund Wales has announced the date for its first Patient Education Conference: Friday, 17 May 2019 from 10 am to 4 pm at the Village Hotel in Swansea.

This conference is free to attend and is open to all kidney patients, friends and families.  The aim is to educate and advise kidney patients on how to lead a better quality of life through lifestyle choices.  Guest speakers will include clinicians and patients who will cover topics such as transplant and fistula, treatment advice, emotional support, physical activities and dealing with loneliness.

There will also be a number of exhibitors attending to offer advice and support to renal patients in areas such as welfare, funding for repairs to the home, planning holidays and employment.

Says Fund Manager, Joanne Popham, “We have been planning this patient education conference for well over a year and we are delighted to be able to announce the date and confirm the content. Through our work with the Welsh Renal Network and other organisations, we have been able to bring together a range of speakers, including clinicians and patients who understand at first hand the issues facing renal patients and how to make their quality of life better.”

To book a place at the Paul Popham Fund Patients Education Conference, click here 



Falck in Swansea Pulls Stops Out on Behalf of Paul Popham Fund

Falck, the world’s largest international provider of emergency services with a base in the Swansea Enterprise Park, has raised £1,300 of behalf of the Paul Popham Fund Renal Support Wales (PPF) in 2018.

Falck chose PPF as its annual Charity Partner last year as the company supports the Renal Department at Morriston Hospital with transport services alongside Welsh Ambulance Services.

Falck bought its first ambulance in 1907 and began operating what was then the first automobile ambulance in Scandinavia. Today, Falck provides emergency medical services to the general public in 22 countries in close collaboration with the regional and local authorities.

Specific fund-raising activities throughout 2018 have included the provision of medical event cover to the charity’s associated running club at their 5k Series in May, June and July and the annual Wear Wally Race in November.

The company has also organised various fundraisers supported by Falck staff, building team spirits and relationships as well as raising money for the charity including a curry night, quiz night and Christmas raffle.

Says Gareth Cadmore, Manager at the Falck base in Swansea, “As an organisation we always endeavour to give back to the communities in which we work.  We were very impressed with the service the Paul Popham Fund provides to the kidney patients and staff at Morriston Hospital, where we also work.  So, it seemed like a perfect match to select the fund as our annual charity.  We were delighted with the response from our staff too resulting our company raising a total of £xxxx as well as being able to provide medical support for the running club events too.”

Adds Joanne Popham, Chair of PPF, “Without the support of local organisations like Falck, our charity simply couldn’t survive.  Over the past 12 months we have managed to purchase equipment, train people to become befrienders, hold events for kidney patients and their families and arrange for children and their families to have special days out at the Millennium Centre and Swansea Grand Theatre. This has been possibly mainly due to corporate donations and running club events, which have also been supported by the team at Falck.  So, we can’t thank them enough for choosing us as their annual charity and we are delighted that they will be supporting us during 2019 too.”

Falck’s first event in 2019 on behalf of the PPF will take place this spring.

Exercises to do at your Desk

Did you know that 30 to 40% of people with diabetes may eventually develop kidney complications ? (report source: Kidney Research UK).

This report also states that: “Diabetes is the most common cause of end stage renal failure (ERSF) requiring dialysis or a kidney transplant in the UK.

  • About 20% of those starting dialysis in the UK have diabetes
  • The condition is becoming more common and it is estimated that numbers will double in the UK over the next few years.
  • Mainly this is due to the type of food eaten and lifestyle – diabetes is more common in the overweight.
  • 30-40% of people with diabetes may eventually develop kidney complications, known as diabetic nephropathy.

World Health Organisation

According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 3.2 million deaths can be attributed to lack of physical activity. A sedentary lifestyle is responsible for increasing our risk of diabetes and heart disease as well as a loss of muscle and bone strength. Perhaps even more alarming is that people who exercise regularly are probably still not getting enough movement in their lives to counteract the deleterious effects of sitting too much.

The good news is that with a little more activity throughout the day, we can actually reverse the inevitable weight gain associated with such a sedentary existence.

So, the team at the Paul Popham Renal Fund Wales would like to encourage people who work in offices and who do generally have a sedentary lifestyle to follow some of these simple exercises whilst at work to help to get them more active without having to make major lifestyle changes.

Stretch at Your Desk

Try these a few of these ten stretches that you can do at your desk which will help to keep you flexible and add a simple exercise routine into your work day:

  • Rubber Neck: sit up tall and drop your right ear down towards your right shoulder (you don’t have to touch it!) and hold for a few seconds and repeat for the left side.
  • Reach for the Stars: interlace your fingers and reach up towards the sky, as high as you can. keeping your palms facing up towards the ceiling.
  • Look Around: turn your head the left and try and look over your shoulder and hold for a few seconds … repeat on the right.
  • Bobblehead: drop your chin down towards your chest and GENTLY roll your head from side to side.
  • Shrugs: raise both shoulders up towards your ears and hold for a few seconds and release. Repeat a few times for good measure.
  • Chest Opener: bring your hands behind your back, press your palms together, sit up tall and hold for 5–10 seconds.
  • Seated Toy Soldier: Sit up tall and extend your right arm all the way up towards the ceiling. Straighten your left leg out and raise it up as you bring your right arm down and try to touch your left foot. Do 8–10 on each side.
  • Knee Hug: with a bent knee, lift your right leg up and grab it with your arms and pull it in as close to your chest as you can. Hold for 5–10 seconds and make sure and do it on the left side, too.
  • Reach and Bend: extend your right arm over your head and reach out as far as you can to the left and gently bend over. Hold for a few seconds and do it the other way.
  • Knee Press: this one stretches out the glutes. With your right ankle on your left knee, gently press against the right knee a few times. Of course, after you’re done with the right side, be sure and give the left side some love, too.

Upgrade Your Workplace Workout

When you’re comfortable doing some of the above, then you can introduce more workplace activities into your daily routine.

Start with some stretching which is great for loosening your joints and keeping you flexible too.  Here are some other suggestions to help you upgrade your workplace workout to ensure you’re getting the daily of exercise that your body needs.

  • Walk/Jog/Run on the Spot: this is as simple as it sounds. Stand up from your chair and get to it. Anyone can do this one, you are in control of the intensity based on the pace you choose. For an even bigger challenge bring your knees up to waist level. 30–45 seconds. 3–5 times
  • Push-Ups: you don’t have to get onto the office floor to do this exercise. You can do push ups against a wall or the edge of your desk. 10 reps. 3 times.
  • Squats: from your chair, stand up, sit back down and repeat 10 more times.
  • Tricep Dips: these can be done pretty much anywhere. Use your desk or your chair if it doesn’t have wheels on it. Position your hands shoulder-width apart on the desk or chair, then move your butt off the front with your legs extended out in front of you. Straighten your arms, keeping a little bend in your elbows to keep tension on your triceps and off your elbow joints. Do 3 sets of 10.
  • Joking Jump Rope: hop on both feet at once, or alternate. Increase the intensity by adding the arm movements you would do if you had a rope. 30 – 45 seconds, 3 – 5 times
  • Calf Raises: stand up behind your chair and hold on for support. Raise your heels off the floor until you are standing on your toes. Slowly lower yourself back to the floor. Do 3 sets of 10.
  • Glute Squeeze: squeeze your glutes as hard as you can and hold for 10–30 seconds.
  • Shoulder Press: look around the office and find an old phone book or a ream of paper, something that weighs a few pounds. Hold it at shoulder height and then raise it all the way overhead. 10 reps. 3 times.
  • Wall Sit: stand with your back against the wall and slowly lower yourself into a seated position and hold for 10–30 seconds at a time.
  • Lunge: you can keep this move stationary and do it at your desk, or you could go all out and lunge down the hall to the printer and back. With one leg in front of the other, gently lower the knee of your back leg down towards the ground. Like you were going to propose to a co-worker. 10 times on each leg.

In Summary

Don’t be bothered if your work colleagues give you funny looks whilst doing any of the above exercises. You’re the one looking after you own health and well-being.

On a final note, ideally you should get up from your desk at least once an hour, even if it’s not to exercise at your desk. Set an alarm to remind you to stop squinting at that Excel worksheet and get up and move.

Also, walking for just two minutes an hour can reduce the negative effects of sitting. And if you’re still right now, get up and start moving.

Cardiff Befriending Training Course

We are holding a one-day Befreinding Training Course in Cardiff for our local supporters who would like to join the Paul Popham Befriending Service and become a trained Befriender.

The course is open to kidney patients or carers of kidney patients who are willing to give a few hours a month provide support, advice and information to other kidney patients and/or carers.

Our Befreinders give their time on a volunteer basis and share their experiences with other kidney patients carers?

The course will take place on Monday, 22nd October 2018 between 10 am and 4 pm at the Nephrology and Transplant Directorate at the University Hospital of Wales on

The course will provide the training required to Befriend kidney patients and/or carers of kidney patients who need support, advice and information.  Full details here.

For further information or to book onto the course, either call or email us as follows:

Tel: 0800 038 8989 email:

The Choice to Donate

Charities and medical professionals are urging organ donors to speak to their families about the choice to donate to prevent relatives overriding their decision.

In Wales alone, figures show 21 families denied consent for organs to be given or did not support deemed consent in 2016/17 even though adults in Wales are regarded as agreeing to donate unless they opt out.

The Welsh Government said this could have resulted in 65 extra transplants, with three organs retrieved per donor on average last year.

Hospitals, charities and supporters of organ donation are highlighting that words save lives and the more people talking about organ donation with their families the better.  It’s important because many people don’t realise that family support is needed for organ donations to go ahead.

Kidney Donation

When it comes to kidney donation, aside from people who have opted to be donors on their death, there are many myths about how safe it is to donate a kidney and remain alive and healthy.  To help dispel these myths, the Paul Popham Renal Fund Wales, would like to share information* on kidney donation and how safe it is to donate a kidney to a loved one.

One of the most frequently asked questions is, “How safe is it to live with one kidney?” Though the need for kidney donors is high, donation is not acceptable if the donor is put at excessive risk of harm. So, every effort is made to minimise the chance of problems.

Donation is not risk-free. Your medical team will discuss the main risks with you as you go through the process and you will need to consider these carefully when deciding whether you wish to be a donor.

There are two main aspects to the question of how safe donation is for the donor: the operation itself and living with one kidney.

The operation

Donating a kidney requires a major operation under general anaesthetic. No operation is risk-free, so it is important to make sure that you are fit and well beforehand so that the risks to you are as low as possible.  There are a number of other risks linked with the operation itself, such as infection, bleeding and pain. As with any surgery, there can be other less common and unexpected complications.

One of the benefits of being a kidney donor is that you go into the operation in good health, and the transplant team will know a great deal about you from the assessment that you have been through. This helps them to anticipate any problems, discuss them with you and to deal with them better should they happen.

Every transplant centre in the UK performs transplantation of kidneys from living donors, and one in every three kidney transplants is from a living donor. Around 1000 such operations are performed in the UK each year. This means that the donor operation is much more common than it used to be and surgeons are very experienced in removing kidneys safely. (Source: Give a Kidney One’s Enough)

Living with one kidney

It is generally considered very safe to live with one kidney and your clinical teams will outline the main risks to you, which include the most common and the most severe risks, as well as the main risks for your own specific circumstances.

For more details on the latest professional guidelines visit the British Transplantation Society website.

Some studies have indicated that there is a slightly higher chance of a small increase in your blood pressure or the amount of protein in your urine as a result of having one kidney. However, these are checked at annual follow-up and, if found, can be treated.

The overall risk of developing significant disease in your remaining kidney after donation is low, occurring in fewer than one in 200 (0.5%) donors, and it is much less in kidney donors than it is in the general (unscreened) population (because kidney donors are, of course, pre-screened to ensure they are healthy). Compared to the general public, most kidney donors have equivalent (or better) survival, excellent quality of life, and no increase in end-stage renal disease (ESRD – kidney disease).

*Please note, this information does not cover detailed medical questions; it is designed to give you general information about donating a kidney based on the advice of medical professionals and currently accepted guidance in the UK, from the research that is available to them. Your healthcare team will discuss risk with you in more detail and on an individual basis, particularly if there are certain concerns about you or your recipient because of your lifestyle, medical history or demographic, as risk must be considered on an individual basis based upon your individual circumstances.


Cardiff Quiz Night

We are delighted to announce a Quiz Night in aid of the Paul Popham Fund, Renal Support Wales, that is being hosted by one of our supporters.

The quiz night will be taking place in the Scouts Hall on Allensbank Crescent, Cardiff (CF14 3PR) on Saturday 10th November 2018 from 6.30pm to 10.00pm.

Tickets are £5 per person and includes one drink from the bar.

Proceeds from the ticket sales, bar takings and raffle on the night will be donated to the Paul Popham Fund and ring fenced to support the development of the Befriending Service throughout Wales, in particular Cardiff.

Befriending Training Course

We are holding a one-day Befreinding Training Course for our supporters who would like to join the Paul Popham Befriending Service and become a trained Befriender.

The course is open to kidney patients or carers of kidney patients who are willing to give a few hours a month provide support, advice and information to other kidney patients and/or carers.

Our Befreinders give their time on a volunteer basis and share their experiences with other kidney patients carers?

The course will take place on Wednesday 26th September 2018 at the Education Centre in Morriston Hospital between 10am and 4pm.

The course will provide the training required to Befriend kidney patients and/or varers of kidney patients who need support, advice and information.

For full details click here. 

For further information or to book onto the course, either call or email us as follows:

Tel: 0800 038 8989    email:


Cash for Kids Comes up Trumps for Kidney Disease Charity

The Wave & Swansea Sound Cash for Kids auction, which runs every December to raise funds for local charities, has come up trumps once again.

Radio presenters Claire Scott and Steve Dewitt have presented the Paul Popham Fund Renal Support Wales with a cheque for £1,000.

This donation will be used by the charity to fund a trip for paediatric renal patients and their families to watch the touring production of the musical, Matilda, at the Wales Millennium Centre this Christmas and the local Swansea production of Cinderella at the Grand Theatre.

Commenting on the generous donation, Joanne Popham from the fund said, “The Wave & Swansea Sound Cash for Kids appeal raises thousands of £’s for local charities every year and we are delighted to be a recipient this time round.  Trips to the theatre are normally few and far between for young kidney patients and I know there will be a huge number of very happy children and their families after the shows this December.”

Pictured receiving the cheque from Claire and Steve at the radio station are Hayley Evans (Charity Administrator) and Nicola Matthews (trustee) from the Paul Popham Fund.