Adelaide artist and KTDRA donor Raelene (Raels) Shearer likes to add a sparkle to her day by reciting Monty Python – to ‘always look on the bright side of life’.
Over the years the mother of five and grandmother to 13 has faced many healthcare challenges.
In 1994 there was a diagnosis of breast cancer that recurred four times – a rarity to beat and survive.
In 2003 Raels was diagnosed with a genetic connective tissue disorder called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS). Then in 2014 her renal disease was confirmed, which is a symptom of EDS.
“There is no history of renal disease in my family,” she said.
“I knew something was wrong many years before l was diagnosed because l had labile blood pressure which could not be controlled satisfactorily with medication.”
If all that wasn’t enough, four years later, she faced another breast cancer diagnosis – this time it was stage 4 with metastatic lesions on her spine, hip and ribs.
Although there are many medical complexities facing her daily, Raels is appreciative for the medical care and the support of friends and family.
“I’m grateful to have family and friends visit, and l still enjoy painting, sewing, pottering in the garden, reading history books and cooking special dietary requirements,” she said.
“Because of my poor health l will always be vulnerable, so l don’t venture far from home. I’m intolerant of most pharmaceutical drugs and Covid vaccines are a huge challenge.
“Last, but not least, l have the wonderful companionship of my 21 year old Burmese cat.”
Recently, Raels has donated to KTDRA to support the medical research that has helped her in different ways.
“I believe l have a duty of care to donate to future medical research in appreciation of the past research which now contributes to my treatment,” Raels said.
“I particularly wanted to support Professor Toby Coates because l’ve observed his dedication to the welfare of all his patients and his passion for developing new and effective treatments.”
Thank you Raelene for supporting KTDRA research.
You can also support research into kidney disease, simply make a donation here.