Silver medal for skydiving kidney patient

Skydivers Gemma Duffy, Holly Jenkins, Brad Dimmock (team cameraman), Charlotte Pope, Maddy Warren. The group won a silver medal in the rookie category in the UK Skydiving National Championships. NNL-170824-171858001
Skydivers Gemma Duffy, Holly Jenkins, Brad Dimmock (team cameraman), Charlotte Pope, Maddy Warren. The group won a silver medal in the rookie category in the UK Skydiving National Championships. NNL-170824-171858001

A rookie skydiver who lost both her kidneys as a teenager was part of a formation team which won a silver medal at the UK Skydiving National Championships recently.

Maddy Warren, 33, from Southam, who trains at Hinton Airfield, near Brackley, was part of a four-person team, called the Firefly Formation Team, which nearly won the rookie category after a jump-off with another team from the RAF.

Miss Warren said: “I did sky diving last year on World Kidney Day and when I finished the jump I thought, ‘This is what my life has been missing.’ I’m sure I am the only dialysis patient ever to take skydiving to a competitive level and win a medal.”

Miss Warren, who grew up in London, has focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), a kidney disease which resulted in her having both her kidneys removed aged 14 when other treatments didn’t work.

She started on peritoneal dialysis, which uses the inside lining of your abdomen as a filter, and opted to have dialysis overnight at home so she could return to school.

After completing her A-levels and earning a place to study natural sciences at Cambridge University, she took a gap year when her father donated one of his kidneys.

But the FSGS returned and despite spending three months trying to save the kidney, it had to be taken out.

She trained to carry out her own haemodialysis, where a machine clears the blood, overnight at home. Most people receive haemodialysis three times a week for four hours at a time.

While at university, Miss Warren had to go to hospital for her dialysis as the Cambridge area didn’t have a dialysis at home programme. But after juggling treatment with studying and trying to keep an active social life, she realised it wasn’t going to work.

She started working for Barclays Bank and Goldman Sachs and now runs her own consultancy. She will be marking her 20th year on dialysis next year. She said: “I am doing well on dialysis, but I am an exception.

“My condition has given me a strong perspective that you have to live every day. It is an effort to set up the machine every night. If I have gone to all that effort to be here, I will go out and enjoy life. I am doing things I wouldn’t have done if I hadn’t had kidney failure.”