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Making the Most Out of Life

Geraldine Buckley has lived her life by, despite battling many health issues – including kidney disease.

Geraldine Buckley

"Geraldine Buckley doesn’t let her kidney disease define her"

“When something goes wrong, I’m determined to beat it.”

It’s this fierce determination and positive mindset that Kidney, Transplant and Diabetes Research Australia (KTDRA) monthly giver Geraldine Buckley has lived her life by, despite battling many health issues – including kidney disease.

At 17 years old, Geraldine was diagnosed with polycystic kidneys which she inherited from her mother, who coincidentally discovered this issue at the same age.

“My mother had a kidney transplant in 1969, which only lasted three years as they weren’t advanced with medical research like today,” Geraldine said.

Refusing to let kidney disease define her, Geraldine lived a very active lifestyle. She worked as a medical researcher in the field of kidney transplant and also worked in oncology for 10 years.

“Working in oncology gave me a great insight into people and illness and it stuck in my mind that you don’t get anywhere unless you remain positive – every cloud has a silver lining.”

Unfortunately, Geraldine’s health deteriorated, and she became very unwell due to her kidneys.

“I was so active people used to call me the ‘white tornado’, but my iron levels were extremely low, and I struggled to even walk some days,” Geraldine said.

Geraldine was forced into early retirement because of renal failure and she underwent dialysis in 1994, three days a week for four hours, at just 46 years old.

“This time of my life was very depressing. Thankfully, my husband Jim was extremely supportive and continues to be with everything I’ve been through.”

A year later, Geraldine’s doctor, Professor Toby Coates, delivered the great news that she would be receiving a kidney transplant!

“Every day since the transplant has been a bonus!”

Geraldine has still faced health battles and was diagnosed with Diffuse B-cell lymphoma in December 2013 due to the immunosuppressant drugs, resulting in her having chemotherapy until April 2014.

“I faced my diagnosis as a challenge and something I had to beat and I’ve had the same attitude from the beginning of my health issues,” Geraldine said.

Geraldine continues to live her life by finding the positive in every situation. Her health issues are the reason she regularly gives to KTDRA!

“The whole renal set up in Adelaide is very good. Professor Coates is an amazing doctor – he really helped me a lot when I first had my transplant and I wanted to give something back.”