Norwich charity offers holidays

Most people take it for granted that they get to have at least one holiday a year

Most people take it for granted that they get to have at least one holiday a year.

But for people who have kidney problems and are tied to their dialysis machines getting away is virtually impossible.

But a city charity is offering patients the chance to travel on specially tailored holidays where they can enjoy themselves while receiving safe and regular care.

The United Norwich Kidney Patients Association (UNKPA) is run by kidney patients and carers - for patients and carers. People on dialysis go into hospital three times a week for about five hours, often having to endure exhausting travel to get there.

UNKPA has addressed the problem of how dialysis patients go on holiday if they need regular treatment every week of the year and has been fundraising for years to provide annual holidays for kidney patients and the people who look after them.

They will be going to De Banjaard in Holland for 10 days in September and everything is organised from travel bookings to regular dialysis and a box of suitable provisions ready for their arrival.

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One person who can't wait to get away this year is Annette Gill who has not had a holiday for more than 40 years. The 66-year-old from Surlingham lost her husband Bob - her primary carer - two years ago and because of her health problems has never had a holiday since she got married.

The grandmother-of-one has been on dialysis for 17 years - a type of treatment which replicates many of the functions of the kidneys in cases where they have been severely damaged.

Mrs Gill said: 'I have had kidney problems since I was 22. Before this I went to Belgium on a trip but my illness has meant I haven't been able to get away much.

'I got to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital three days a week and am attached to a dialysis machine for nearly fours hours. I get picked up at 6.30am and by the time I come home I am ready to sleep because dialysis takes a lot out of you.

'This holiday is a chance to get away for 10 days and I am really looking forward to it.'

Mrs Gill will be accompanied by her granddaughter Shannon, 16, who has never been abroad before and will care for her grandmother during the trip.

She said: 'It is a bit like Centre Parcs where everything is on the premises and we can get dialysis there.

'What is good is that I will be with other people who are all in the same position. A holiday helps mentally and physically because our lives are quite restricted in terms of diet and activity.

'This will be a proper break and a great opportunity for us all.'

The holidays are tailored for dialysis patients and sometimes enable them to do something they have never done before - like swimming.

To donate to the charity call 01603 782282 or email