Published on: 7 September 2023

A dad looks set to be the Great North Run’s only North East home dialysis patient as he takes to the course side by side with his consultant.

Craig Hill, 39, from Sherburn Hill, Durham, was 22 when he was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD).

He was given a scan because of his family links to the condition.

It can cause a kidney to become larger because thousands of cysts form on the surface. It can lead to high blood pressure and make the organ fail.

In families with PKD, there is a 50% chance someone with PKD will pass it on to their child.

It can also occur spontaneously in those with no history of it in their relatives.

In Craig’s case, his dad David, 71, and Laura McLean, 45, were diagnosed with it first before his mum Gill, 68, was coincidently told she had kidney failure.

His dad has since had a transplant, while his sister received one from a living donor. His mum now has stage 4 kidney failure.

In Craig’s case, he undergoes dialysis on a home machine every other day. His care is overseen by Sunderland Royal Hospital’s Renal Unit. He works from home for HMRC and is able to connect to the equipment while he works.

This Sunday, he will be running the half marathon alongside his consultant Dr Saeed Ahmed. His doctor believes he is the only home dialysis patient from the region to be taking part.

Craig Hill and his consultant Dr Saeed Ahmed will both take part in the Great North Run..jpg

Craig Hill and his consultant Dr Saeed Ahmed will both take part in the Great North Run.

Craig, who is married to Tamsin, 41, and is dad to Eloise, five, will be running to raise funds for the PKD Charity, while Dr Ahmed will run for Kidney Care UK.

Craig and Eloise will also take part in the Mini Great North Run on the Newcastle Quayside on Saturday, having taken part last year. Tamsin will be running on Sunday too.

Craig Hill playing with his daughter Eloise while using his home dialysis machine..jpeg

Craig Hill playing with his daughter Eloise while using his home dialysis machine.

As part of his drive to keep well, Craig, who is originally from Hartlepool, plays in forward for Cleveland Comets Ice Hockey Team. This GNR will be his forth.

Craig said:

"PKD is different for everyone. My Dad and sister were really nauseous and lost a lot of weight. I’ve had chronic fatigue and I feel a lot better now, I also had restless legs and cramps.

"Taking part in the Great North Run was my wife’s daft idea and we both got a place. I try and get as much exercise as I can to help keep fit and well.

"I home dialyse every other day for four hours at a time and do it while I work from home. The process is fine and it’s going well, but the weekends can make it tricky to fit in.

"I’ve already hit my £300 target. Raising a bit of money to help others is my main motivation for taking part and I’ll be very happy to finish with any time."

Dr Ahmed is a Consultant Interventional Nephrologist and Clinical Director with South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust – he tweets as Sidney Kidney.

He said:

"This just shows that you can have a successful, active life on dialysis.

"Most people would be gobsmacked to hear a home dialysis patient is running and I think this is a first for someone like Craig.

"This can only go to show other people how you can live well as a home dialysis patient and it is important for them to know.

"What Craig is doing here is showing he is controlling the disease and the disease is not controlling his life. Patients can get up, keep fit, and I’m very proud of him for that.”

"My big concern is he’s going to get a better time than me."

Craig’s sponsorship page can be found by clicking here and Dr Ahmed’s by clicking here.

Also among Trust staff to be taking part the half marathon are Urology Department colleagues Consultant Urologists Phil Keegan and Alice Hartley, Gayle Adams, a Macmillan Cancer Nurse Specialist and Alex Harris, Urology Cancer Care Co-ordinator , along with retired consultant Trevor Armitage. 

They will raise money for the Move Against Cancer.

Their fundraising page can be found via this link.

The Trust has been sharing details of colleagues getting ready to also run in Sunday’s event via its social channels, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.