Jenna Jackson was diagnosed with the condition back in 2005, when she was a student at Sheffield Hallam University.
She was forced to drop out as a result, but within a few years she went on to gain qualifications and work in the hospitality and catering industry as a chef.
In 2006, the Chesterfield woman had a transplant which went well for nine years, giving her an almost-normal life, until the transplant failed in 2015.
Jenna then had to go onto dialysis for eight months which dramatically affected her diet, leading to her mainly eating white bread and porridge as well as affecting the amount of liquid she could consume, before she went through a second transplant in 2016.
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The 36-year-old, has spoken about her journey and how she has battled through the condition to go on to complete an Open University degree and work as a self-employed chef.
She said: “In 2005 it was an utter shock to get the diagnosis, there was no history of it in our family, I was just really unlucky,
“At the time the doctors were never able to pinpoint where it came from or exactly what happened. I was living a normal life, I was a student and this completely turned everything upside down.
“There is no cure for renal failure, that is why there is so much research going into it, so the transplants give you a chance to have an almost normal life.
“You are still on medication so the body doesn’t reject it, but it has meant have been able to go back to work and I have been able to do things.”
Things were going well following Jenna’s first transplant but it failed in 2015 and she spent eight months on dialysis, something which really impacted her life.
She said: “The biggest thing is the psychological trauma. You are sat at a machine which you have to do three-times-a-week, three-hours-at-a-time, so it is a lot of time spent at this machine.
“You can’t go away anywhere, I couldn’t socialise as much as I used to. You take a lot of things for granted. I was in my 20s and 30s and I couldn’t see my friends as often as I liked.
“It just a different way of life. You have to be careful what you drink, you have to be careful what you eat.
“I am a big chocoholic so that had to go, there could be none of that. I had to boil vegetables until they were like snot because of the potassium.
“I just remember pretty much eating white bread and porridge. It was just very, very bland. It also affected my immune system so if there was an illness going around I would just get it.
“That’s why I have been shielding for so long during the pandemic, because if i’d have got it could have been game over.”
Jenna was shielding with her boyfriend Andy Jenkinson and they came up with a lot of fun and exciting things to do while they were stuck in during the coronavirus pandemic lockdown.
Jenna said: “With anyone else it would have driven me insane, but with Andy I couldn’t ask for a better shielding partner.
“We made the most of it not being able to go out. We would do re-runs of old James Bond films and get dressed up in our best like it was a premier and we have done a British tea party.
“Scrabble has also been a big game in the house and we’ve both got really competitive at it. I was winning overall, but I think I’m a bit behind him now and need to catch up.”
Andy has vowed to show his girlfriend that she is his heroine and he will go from couch to half marathon to complete the virtual Great North Run on Sunday, September 13.
The 32-year-old civil servant will be raising funds for Kidney Research UK and will complete the run with his brother, Des, who is taking part as his father-in-law was recently diagnosed with kidney failure.
To donate to the cause visit the Just Giving page by clicking here.
The brothers will take part in their gruelling challenge around Derwent Valley and have already exceeded their fundraising target, with more than £2,000 raised for their favourite cause to date.
Andy said: “My brother Des, who has been amazing during lockdown and super supportive of me and Jenna. I am so happy to be running it with him. He’s amazing!
“Jenna is one of the bravest people you could ever meet. She is so positive and I’m so proud of her. I wanted to do this to show her how much she means to me and raise money for a cause that is close to all of our hearts.
“I’m not normally a runner but am determined to do this.
“I have been out with my brother and we have done a few training runs to see if we could do it. It’s going to be painful. There’s going to be torment, but I’m really pumped up for it.
“It’s nice to be able to do it somewhere close as well. I’ve spoke to people who have done big half marathons who have said the atmosphere is amazing, but I’m not really a proper runner.
“I’m quite pleased that I can do it with just a handful of people watching. It’s going to be hard, but I’m looking forward to it.”
The couple from Brampton, in Chesterfield, only met last year, but Jenna says he has become her rock, attending all her clinic appointments and being by her side through thick and thin.
He said: “When we went into lockdown, I shielded with Jenna to keep her safe, but I actually felt pretty useless. Thankfully my brother Des was doing all the shopping for us and generally keeping us going.
“I had really missed being outdoors and after a few beers one Saturday evening at the start of August I said ‘That’s it, I’m going do something positive for charity’.”
Jenna says she will be there at the end as he crosses the line as her job for the day is to cook up a large amount of food ready for him finishing his challenge.
She said: “I’m not going to lie, when he first told me he was going to do this, I did question his mental state, but I couldn’t be prouder of what he is doing.
“It is such a good thing to support the charity that has helped me. He was up early the other day running so he is taking it seriously.
“My job for the day is to cook up loads of food as he says he’s going to be really hungry at the end of it, so I’ll be there at the end as he comes in, I’ll have all the food.
“I think it is possible there will be a foot rub involved at some point as well.”