DODDINGTON: Joe Perry on-cue to help family raising money for renal unit

PUBLISHED: 17:57 29 May 2008 | UPDATED: 08:29 02 June 2010

Henry Shepherd and Joe Perry show off the signed snooker cue. Picture: PETER UPTON

Henry Shepherd and Joe Perry show off the signed snooker cue. Picture: PETER UPTON

EXCLUSIVE by MAGGIE GIBSON SNOOKER star Joe Perry is helping a Fenland family raise money for a renal unit where their daughter will undergo a life-changing kidney transplant operation. Shirley and Henry Shepherd hope to raise hundreds of pounds for the u

EXCLUSIVE by MAGGIE GIBSON

SNOOKER star Joe Perry is helping a Fenland family raise money for a renal unit where their daughter will undergo a life-changing kidney transplant operation.

Shirley and Henry Shepherd hope to raise hundreds of pounds for the unit at Leicester General Hospital by raffling a cue belonging to the snooker star which has been signed by 30 of the world's top players.

Sixty-four-year-old Henry will be donating one of his kidneys to his daughter, Violet, and the family of Primrose Hill, Doddington, are keen to highlight the need for living donors.

Henry, a lorry driver, who says he is not at all apprehensive at the thought of surgery, says it is the best gift he can give Violet, 32, who lives with her husband and three children in Wisbech.

He said: "I told the family straight away that if I was suitable then I wanted to do it. If in 20 years time she needs another transplant then there will still be younger members of the family who can do it.

"I have never been worried about it and I was just so pleased that I could do this for her."

After undergoing five weeks of tests, Henry was told he was a suitable match but with a body mass of 34 he would have to lose weight to get that down to 30 or less. Since Christmas he has lost two and a half stone by walking, cycling and swimming and ditching the cakes and biscuits. He still has another half a stone to lose.

Although Violet was born with the kidney problem it was not discovered until she was pregnant with her twin daughters.

Mrs Shepherd said: "If she doesn't have a transplant then she will be on dialysis and the doctors want to do it before it gets to that stage. We haven't been given a date, doctors will decide when it is the safest and best time to operate. When we found out that Henry was compatible it was very emotional and I have to admit to having mixed feelings. We will be with them both all the way and are thinking positively about it."

Henry's kidney will be transplanted into Violet's groin so she will have three kidneys. He said: "Within 12 months the kidney I am left with will have increased in size and will be compensating for the kidney I have had taken away. The surgeon told me I will have a better chance of living longer because I will be checked out thoroughly every year."

After the transplant there is about a three month period when the transplanted kidney can be rejected. Henry said: "That will be the most stressful time."

It was while the family were at the renal unit at Leicester that they heard it was in need of funds.

Mrs Shepherd asked the snooker star, a friend of her son, Barry, if he could help her raise money for the unit.

She said: We are thrilled that Joe has offered to help us in this way. When we went to a meeting at the hospital they were saying all the things they were in need of so we thought this would be a good way to say thank-you". The family also hopes to organise a dance later in the year.

Raffle tickets cost £5 each and are on sale at Doddington Post Office; The George public house, Doddington; The George public house, Chatteris; The Conservative Club, Chatteris; Cassanos, March; Dobsons, March; and the Rose and Crown public house, Manea. The draw will be made at the end of July.


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