Mum Carole Lock knows organ transplants save lives. She donated a kidney to her grown-up son, Joe, last summer – and today (September 1) marked the first anniversary of the surgery with a celebratory event to raise awareness.
Carole, of Awliscombe, held a family-friendly four kilometre walk from the Honiton Inn.
She knew 25 people were planning to turn up but, instead, found herself joined by 91. Children and dogs were accompanied by adults in the happy walking party.
The event raised £689.53 for Honiton Kidney Unit. A generous supporter has offered to round up the sum to £700.
Carole, 57, said: “I wanted to celebrate in some way and thought it would be nice to do something with the village. Everyone has been so kind, pulling together with a real community spirit.”
Among those to support the event were other live organ donors just like Carole, including Richard Salisbury of Honiton, and a number of people who are alive today because of transplants. Mr Salisbury’s wife, Carla, and son, Jonathan, have had the life-saving surgery.
Joe, 27, and Jonathan both attended Awliscombe Primary School and had transplants within a year of each other.
Among those taking part was one of Carole’s friends, who has lived with one kidney for 50 years following a horse riding accident when she was just a small girl.
“You can be fit and well with one kidney,” said Carole. “I am fit and healthy, and I want to say anyone can do what I have done.”
She said she was “thrilled” with the turnout for the walk. “It was a nice family-friendly, community event – just what I wanted. People were smiling.”
Carole would like to thank local farmers for allowing the walk to cross their land, as well as her supportive band of marshalls who made the event possible.
Everyone who took part in the event received a free cup cake as a ‘thank you’. All the ingredients for the cakes were generously donated by Tesco. They were kindly baked by Pam Sweetland, of Bovey Down Farm, and later decorated with kidney-shaped toppers.