The Paul Popham Fund, Renal Support Wales held its inaugural meeting of Family and Friends of Paul Popham on the 13th March 2013, 5 months after Paul Popham sadly lost his courageous battle with kidney cancer on the 21st October 2012.
Paul – or Wally as he was fondly known by his friends and the football community of Swansea – contracted a virus known as nephritis at the age of 28 which resulted in renal failure. His wife Cheryl was told that she would be a widow in 10 years, with 3 young children under the age of 10 this was a daunting prospect
However, as a testimony to Paul’s TRUE spirit he far outlived the consultant’s theory. He had 2 kidney transplants both allowing him 7 years of dialysis-free living with the second transplant coming straight after the birth of his fourth child. At that time Paul stated that if his kidney transplant gave him 5 years to play football with his young son he would die a happy man.
Again demonstrating his TRUE spirit he lived on way passed Matthew’s 5th Birthday! Sadly in 2005 Paul was diagnosed with Kidney Cancer. Although he had the cancer removed in 2008 he was told that the cancer had spread. His consultant gave him 8 months to live with a drug that was licensed on the NHS and 14 months with a drug that was licensed but not available on the NHS at that time.
Paul’s family and friends fought the NHS for the drug with the help of the local media, South Wales Evening Post and Swansea Sound and The Wave and a patient advocate Rose Woodward, Kidney Cancer Support Network. Paul’s family took an 8,000 signed petition for all Kidney Cancer Patients in Wales to receive treatments on the NHS to the Welsh Assembly in November 2008 and in January 2009 Edwina Hart announced that 4 Kidney Cancer Treatments would be made available on the NHS one of which was the treatment Paul needed. Paul started his treatment in January 2009, he took 3 courses of the treatment but the side effects were too great. This did not stop Paul living on on for 4 years without any treatment demonstrating his TRUE spirit and outliving standard medical prognosis.
Paul was without doubt a positive man and it was this positive attitude that allowed him the fortune to live a happy and wonderful live, supporting his family and his beloved local football team, St Joseph’s in the face of adversity. It is with this TRUE spirit that The Fund has been set-up to keep his legacy alive and support renal patients like him in Wales.