Treated normally despite ilness

Shelby Patterson contemplates the future, which is looking much brighter thanks to a kidney...
Shelby Patterson contemplates the future, which is looking much brighter thanks to a kidney transplant. Photo by Sally Rae.
Kidney transplant recipient Shelby Paterson is not treated any differently by her family.

Despite nine years of ill health and regular trips to hospital, the plucky Hampden teenager and her family have had to "deal with it and get on with life", her mother, Kirsten Monk, said yesterday.

"We don't treat her like she's got a chronic illness. She gets into trouble as much as the other kids. She has to do her jobs around the house," Ms Monk, a mother of five, said.

Shelby (16) is now looking forward to the future after she received a new kidney, from an anonymous donor, on October 9.

A motorcycle poker fun run is being held on Saturday as a fundraiser for Shelby. Participants will register at the Criterion Hotel in Oamaru at 11.30am and get their first card in a hand of poker.

They will then ride back roads, stopping at Enfield, Duntroon and Maheno, receiving a card at each stop before returning to the Criterion for a barbecue.

Ms Monk was embarrassed but also humbled to know "basically virtual strangers" were doing something for them.

"We don't own a motorbike in the family although my son would dearly love to," she said.

Shelby was diagnosed with kidney problems when she was 7. At 11, chronic renal failure meant she had to go on to dialysis for 10 hours a day, seven days a week.

There were no school camps, unless she was accompanied by her mother, and no sleepovers at friends' homes.

"It was really, really restrictive," Ms Monk said.

About 18 months ago, Shelby got very ill and was flown to Starship Hospital in Auckland. She then had to go on to another sort of dialysis.

A call came "out of the blue" in mid September to say there was a donor and, three weeks later, Shelby had a new kidney.

She will be back at Waitaki Girls High School next year "fulltime". She had to take this term off school.

She will have to have at least one, if not two, further transplants within her lifetime and will be on medication for the rest of her life, her mother said.


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