Popham Kidney Support
Popham Kidney Support was founded on March 13 2013, as Paul Popham Fund, Renal Support Wales, five months after Paul Popham lost his courageous battle with kidney cancer on the October 21 2012.
Paul Popham– or Wally as he was fondly known by his friends of the football community in Swansea – contracted a virus known as nephritis at the age of 28 which resulted in renal failure, that was in 1979. At that time his wife Cheryl was told that she would be a widow in 10 years., with three young children under the age of 10, this was a particularly daunting prospect. Thankfully, Paul far outlived the consultant’s expectations. He had two kidney transplants, both allowing him seven years of dialysis-free living, with the second transplant coming straight after the birth of his fourth child, Matthew whose name means hope. At that time Paul stated that if his kidney transplant gave him five years to play football with his young son, he would die a happy man.
Paul lived on way past Matthew’s fifth birthday. Sadly, however, he was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2005. The cancer was removed in 2008. 3 years later, Paul was told that it had spread. He was informed he would have eight 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 local media, The South Wales Evening Post, local radio stations Swansea Sound and The Wave as well as patient advocate, Rose Wood – ward of Kidney Cancer Support Network. Paul’s family took an 8,000 signed petition demanding that all kidney cancer patients in Wales receive treatment on the NHS, to the Welsh Assembly in November 2008, and in January 2009 Health Minister Edwina Hart announced that four 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 three courses of the treatment, but the side effects were too great. This did not stop Paul living on for four years without any treatment, far outliving standard medical prognosis and again demonstrating his extraordinary spirit. Paul was, without doubt, a positive man and it was this positive attitude that enabled him to live a happy and wonderful life in the face of adversity, and still supporting his family and his beloved football team, St Joseph’s. It is with this spirit that the fund has been set up, to keep his legacy alive and support renal patients like him in Wales to believe in themselves and know they are not alone!