Son taking on marathon in honour of Honiton mum who underwent transplant operation

PUBLISHED: 15:00 23 August 2017 | UPDATED: 09:42 29 August 2017

Transplant survivor Mary Palmer with her husband Mike.

Transplant survivor Mary Palmer with her husband Mike.


Leon Palmer is running the Amsterdam Marathon on October 15 to raise funds for the Polycystic Kidney Disease Charity.

A Honiton woman is using her son’s charity run as a way to spread the importance of becoming an organ donor.

Mary Palmer, of Charles Road, was dealt a bombshell when she was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD), a life-threatening inherited condition that can cause renal kidney failure and affect other organs in the body.

Her son, Leon, is now taking on the Amsterdam Marathon on October 15 to raise funds for the Polycystic Kidney Disease Charity. Mary said: “My mum died when she was 56. My brother developed problems and had a transplant aged 54.

“That is when the family was checked and I was given the news that I had the same condition - I was in my early forties and had no idea up to that point.

“It was a bit of shock but I am the kind of person who just goes with the flow.”

Mary’s next step was to be monitored annually, then monthly by the renal team in Exeter and Honiton before she underwent dialysis.

“I would have been 62,” Mary said. “I was then placed on the transplant list at South Mead Hospital in Bristol.

“The next stage was to undergo dialysis, which I did for just over three years.”

Then, at midnight on November 2, 2016, she received that long-awaited call.

“I almost hung up because I thought it was a cold call!” Mary said.

“But the woman at the end of the line said she was the transplant co-ordinator at the hospital and she said they had a kidney for me.

“It felt a bit surreal, I was like ‘Was this really happening?’”

At 7pm the following day, Mary went under the knife and had a successful transplant.

“It has been brilliant since,” she said. “I feel very thankful that I am here.

“I sit here sometimes and think I have been so lucky when I look around and see other conditions that other people have - yet someone gave me a second chance.

“Organ donation is so important because it saves lives.

“I think the government should change the rules on organ donation and make it a scheme where you have to opt out of donating them.”

To donate to Leon’s marathon run, visit:

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