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Moments at the Summit: Kidney Disease Doesn’t Hold Maddy Down

Maddy Warren

Maddy sets her sights high and doesn’t let gravity hold her back. Despite her kidney disease, she is always seeking new challenges. Photo courtesy of Andy Ford, Infinite Skydiving Solutions.

Maddy Warren likes challenges, and her kidney disease does not hold her back from the extraordinary life she chooses. A self-described “adrenaline junkie”, Maddy skydives, skis, rides racehorses and scales mountains, while maintaining a demanding career in Human Resources for a global investment firm.

As a teenager, she was diagnosed with nephrotic syndrome, a rare kidney disorder that progressed into end-stage renal disease – kidney failure. Her disorder did not respond to treatment and her kidneys were damaged beyond repair. She began peritoneal dialysis, which she continued for the next several years while she was in school.

Doctors then decided to do a kidney transplant from her dad, yet in just 12 hours her original condition returned in the donated kidney. She became very unwell again, and while a number of treatments were used to try and get her disease into remission, none were successful. She says she had "several moments where things were a bit hit and miss as to whether I'd pull through."

Back on dialysis – this time hemodialysis (HD) at home – Maddy then started at Cambridge University, but the unavailability of home hemodialysis in that area meant she couldn’t have the flexibility to sustain the demands of her studies. So she moved home and transferred to the London School of Economics, and while there, took a human resources internship with a large retail bank. That ultimately led to her current position in Talent Development at the bank.

Maddy is now on a more frequent hemodialysis therapy with no consecutive days off dialysis, dialyzing nearly every night while she sleeps. “My therapy schedule is flexible and I feel well, with energy to live a full life,” she says. “I am incredibly independent and want to have control over what I’m doing.”

“I plan to keep celebrating like this for many years to come.”

— Maddy Warren
Human Resources Professional, Dialysis Patient

A moment that mattered for Maddy was when she reached the summit of Ben Nevis – the highest mountain in the British Isles – to celebrate her 15th year on dialysis. “I plan to keep celebrating like this for many years to come. Challenges like Ben Nevis are special moments in my life. I dialyze to live; I don't live to dialyze,” she says. “In a funny way I can't actually imagine what my life would have been like or how it would have turned out if my condition had never happened.”