Transplant at Leeds hospital inspires soap box fundraising

Two years ago, Simon Melton's wife Sarah underwent a kidney transplant in Leeds.

Sunday, 14th August 2016, 2:07 pm
Updated Sunday, 14th August 2016, 3:09 pm

The precious gift of a new kidney was given by her mum Ann, a day before her 75th birthday.

Now, to commemorate the event and support other kidney patients in Yorkshire, Simon will head up a team taking to the streets of York in a unique race.

The inaugural Micklegate Run Soap Box Challenge will see hand built carts go head-to-head along the cobbles of the historic street.

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The event on August 28 coincides almost exactly with the anniversary of Sarah’s transplant and her husband will raise funds for the West Riding Kidney Transplant Patients Association (KPA), which supports the transplant team and its patients in Leeds.

Simon, from York, said it was a selfless act of his mother-in-law for her daughter, especially as Ann nearly died afterwards from a rare complication.

“She did this with no fear or thought to herself, a gift which no amount of sponsorship I could possibly raise or buy at any price,” he said.

Sarah had suffered from a condition since birth which meant she needed an operation as a child, and her kidney function was deteriorating.

She underwent the transplant two years ago before she needed to go onto dialysis, because of her mum’s age, and the operation has prevented Sarah’s condition from worsening, although she still gets tired easily and needs plenty of rest

Simon, who works as an engineer surveyor for Zurich Engineering, decided the Micklegate Run was the perfect challenge for him.

He has been working hard on making the cart and he and his team will be supported on the day by a team of friends and family who will be in fancy dress to match the theme of the cart.

“I’ve never done anything like this before and this brings together my love for engineering, making things, repairing things and raising money for a cause very close to my heart,” the dad-of-two said.

“I’m really excited.”

His employer is supporting by match funding the amount he raises.

Simon has also obtained sponsorship and has had parts for his cart donated or has paid cost price for them himself – so his fundraising for the KPA already stands at over £2,000.

“I’ve had a lot of support, which has been brilliant,” he added.

The West Riding KPA supports patients and their families who are patients at Leeds General Infirmary and St James’s Hospital, as well as raising awareness of organ donation, supporting the transplant programme and promoting research into kidney disease.

One of the other team members is Richard Mellen, whose daughter Lydia had a liver transplant in Leeds seven years ago, at the age of seven.

Lydia, from York, has gone on to win medals for Team GB in the Transplant Games, most recently finding success in the cycling at this year’s event in Liverpool.

The other team members are Simon’s friends Phillip Carter and Graham Parkhill.

More information about the soap box challenge is available by logging on to

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