20 years on, Lesley’s still running for her life

Lesley Forrest will celebrate the 20th anniversary of her kidney transplant by running the Great Winter Run. Picture: Scott Taylor
Lesley Forrest will celebrate the 20th anniversary of her kidney transplant by running the Great Winter Run. Picture: Scott Taylor
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A MOTHER who is celebrating the 20th anniversary of her kidney transplant is aiming to raise more awareness about organ donation – by taking part in the city’s Great Winter Run.

Lesley Forrest, who has been a British Transplant Athlete since 2006, said it’s important people realise the importance of organ donation because someone could be in need of it “at any time”.

I’m looking forward to taking part in the Great Winter Run, and it’s great my daughter is coming along to support me – we will be running together.

Leslie Forrest

The 58-year-old, from Newington, had her operation in 1996, after suffering kidney failure due to a hereditary condition known as Alport Syndrome.

The inherited disease primarily affects the glomeruli – the tiny tufts of capillaries in the kidneys that filter wastes from the blood.

It is caused by changes in genes that affect type IV collagen, a protein that is important to the normal structure and function of glomeruli.

Lesley, a mother-of-three, said: “I had no option but to get a transplant – my kidneys were failing.

“The condition mostly affects males and it’s something that is common in my family.”

Since her transplant, Lesley, who works at Edinburgh University, said her life has changed completely.

As well as competing in the British Transplant Games all over the UK, she is aiming to have completed 20 fundraising events by April 2016, which will officially mark the 20th anniversary of her operation.

Lesley said: “It was a really difficult time when I had my transplant and I think it’s important to highlight that kidney failure can happen to anyone – not just people with hereditary conditions.

“I’m looking forward to taking part in the Great Winter Run, and it’s great my daughter is coming along to support me – we will be running together.”

Lesley, and her daughter, Amy, 25, participated in Edinburgh’s Santa Run earlier this week to prepare them for the next event.

The pair will be raising money for Transplant Sports UK – a cause close to their hearts. Amy said: “I was only five when my mum had to have her transplant and my twin brother has recently been diagnosed with the same condition.

“He is going to need a transplant too so organ donation is something that is important to us. I remember being so young and not really understanding what was going on with mum and we had a dialysis machine in the house.

“It’s amazing how many people haven’t actually thought about donating their organs.

“We just want to get as much knowledge out there as possible because everyone could need a donation at somepoint in their life.”

Lesley and Amy are participating in the Pure Gym Great Edinburgh Winter Run which will take place on Saturday, January 9, beginning at the bottom of Arthur’s Seat.

For more information, visit www.greatrun.org/ednews.

courtney.cameron@edinburghnews.com