10 March 2020

Willow was just 14 when her kidneys started failing

Willow Cracknell’s journey started in June 2017.

Mum, Jane, from Ringwood explains: “Willow would become unwell every morning, and her face would be very puffy. We had a few tests done at our doctors, and then in late December 2017 I received a phone call from the doctor’s surgery asking me to take Willow to the G4 ward at Southampton Children’s Hospital.

We had just enjoyed Christmas together, so to get this phone call on 27 December was a shock for us all. We spent the night wondering what could be wrong.

The following morning we met the lovely Mr Gilbert who is a Consultant Nephrologist. He told us that Willow had Chronic Kidney Disease.

Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that was what we would be told. It turned our lives upside down.

Willow deteriorated faster than we had expected. In early March we were told that she would need to start Haemodialysis three days a week, for four hours at a time to filter and clean her blood.

As a parent this was incredibly frightening, however Willow took it all her stride. The staff were amazing, and made sure that we understood everything that was going on with her treatment.

We wanted to do something to say thank you so when I went back to work at William Guy hairdressers, I spoke to them about raising money for the G4 ward through Southampton Hospitals Charity.

Ruth is the Senior Sister on G4, and we spoke about trying to buy an HD300 ultrasound scanner which would mean that the nursing staff could find the children’s veins more easily, and insert the fistula’s (needles) with minimal trauma for the children.

We’ve raised an incredible £7,035.39 and the machine has been in place since February 2020 on the ward.

Thank you to everyone who supported us along the way – to all of our family and friends and the local Ringwood community, William Guy hairdressers, Ringwood Comprehensive School, and Ringwood RMDS.

Since donating the money to the Charity, a kidney had been found for Willow! Mum, Jane, explains:

It all happened really quickly. We received a phone call in late February that they had found a suitable kidney for Willow, and just a few days later, she underwent her kidney transplant. She is now back at Southampton Children’s Hospital recovering. We are still in shock, but thrilled that the next stage of her journey can now begin.”

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