Even before Kayleigh was born, her mother, Petra Schormans (47), knew that she had polycystic kidney disease: a hereditary disease in which multiple cysts in the kidneys slowly reduce renal function. Until recently, this had not affected Petra very much. She did occasionally suffer from kidney infections, however, and Kayleigh remembers this well. “Even then, I couldn’t stop myself from checking to make sure her heart was still beating.”
But it wasn’t until 2011 that Petra really started suffering from her polycystic kidney disease. While she was enjoying a weekend away in Paris with her daughter Kayleigh her health began to go downhill very rapidly. After they had climbed the steps of the Notre Dame, Petra really wasn’t feeling well. Soon after, Petra was in hospital, critically ill with a kidney infection. At that time there was no other option than to start with dialysis. And it was only then that the impact of the disease became painfully clear. Three times a week, Petra had to spend hours on dialysis with nothing to do. Even at Christmas.
The need for a donor kidney increased every day. Kayleigh: “Dialysis damages your body in a way you can’t imagine so we needed a donor very soon. Luckily, my stepfather Peter turned out to be a 100% match.” Kayleigh and her family are now able to celebrate the one year anniversary of Petra’s new kidney. Besides the fact that Petra doesn’t need dialysis anymore, Kayleigh is happy to see her mother slowly becoming herself again. She is back to working full-time, and the family doesn’t revolve solely around Petra’s kidney anymore. Even though the hereditary nature of the disease and the lifespan of Petra’s new kidney mean the subject will never disappear from view completely.