A retired nurse from Cambridgeshire will be going head-to-head with a real racing pit crew this week to highlight the issues around kidney disease.
Hosted by Kidney Research UK at the Silverstone Festival, John Torode will see if he can setup a dialysis machine in record time to beat a professional pit crew changing the tyres.
John who worked on the dialysis unit at Addenbrookes will help to show the complexities of dialysis on Sunday and bring kidney disease front and centre of the festival.
Silverstone Festival will play host to an unlikely battle between a dialysis nurse and a pit crew this year in a challenge of speed and efficiency.
Hosted by official charity partner Kidney Research UK, the two sides will showcase the technical skill and efficiency needed to do their jobs in a live demonstration.
Dialysis patients in hospital will often need treatment three times a week for up to four hours at a time – credit Kidney Research UKAs official charity partner of this year’s Festival, Kidney Research UK is highlighting the many technical advances that have occurred within the world of motorsport and taking inspiration forward into the world of kidney research.
Taking place on Sunday 27 August on the My Motor World Stage, dialysis nurse John Torode will go head-to-head with a pit crew from Andrew Jordan Racing to see who can efficiently and safely complete their specialist tasks the quickest.
The pit crew will change all four wheels on the car, meanwhile nurse John will have his work cut out as he hooks a real dialysis machine up to a dummy arm in record time.
The event will be hosted by presenter of the BBC’s Bargain Hunt Danny Sebastian. The TV personality will be joined by kidney patients and clinicians who will give their own unique perspectives on the condition and the challenges they face in combatting the disease.
John Torode, retired dialysis nurse said: “Activities like these are just so much fun but also hold a really important lesson for everyone watching. People won’t necessarily know about how complicated and important it is to set up a dialysis machine properly and I think the realities will shock people.
“The fact is that people simply don’t know enough about kidney disease unless it affects them or someone they know. I really hope this challenge will make people think about kidney disease and the challenges that face patients when they go on dialysis.”
7.2 million people are currently estimated to be living with kidney disease in the UK, 3.25 million of whom are living with the most severe stages.
When patients reach kidney failure, they require regular dialysis treatment to keep them alive, something that around 30,000 people in the UK currently depend on. Without an available transplant, patients needing dialysis treatment can be in hospital three times a week for up to four hours at a time, curbing their freedom and impacting their ability to work and socialise.
Sandra Currie, chief executive at Kidney Research UK said: “If you look back at the cars that were racing at Silverstone at the first British Grand Prix in 1948 compared to those on track today, you would be forgiven for thinking they were a completely different breed. Dialysis has been around since the 1950s but unfortunately has not seen the same level of innovation that has enabled such amazing advancements in speed safety and efficiency within the motoring world.
“As much as this challenge is fun and entertaining, it will also show how much more research is needed so that we can follow in the footsteps of those incredible people who have transformed motor racing into the advanced sport it is today.”
Kidney disease currently costs the UK economy £7 billion, with £6.4 billion being direct costs to the NHS. Based on predictions for the potential growth in demand for dialysis, this could rise by 11% to £13.9 billion by 2033 without government intervention.  Kidney Research UK works tirelessly to transform treatments for patients but much more needs to be done to make a real difference.
This year’s Silverstone Festival provides the charity with a prime platform to showcase the many research achievements while highlighting what more must be done to reach the day when people can live without kidney disease.
Nick Wigley, Event Director at the Silverstone Festival added: “We are delighted to have Kidney Research UK as the official Silverstone Festival charity partner and, more importantly, to be highlighting the very significant human implications of kidney disease and failure. The race between a pit crew and dialysis nurse is not only an entertaining and relevant way to engage with Festival visitors but also highlights how technical innovation as championed in motor sport can improve lives.”
Alongside the challenge on the Sunday, Kidney Research UK is working across the weekend to raise awareness of the condition and speak to visitors about their kidney health. Classic car fanatics will spot bespoke boards next to their favourite cars giving them an insight into a particular kidney research milestone that took place while the vehicle was being manufactured.
Visitors will also be encouraged to keep on top of hydration over the weekend using the Festival’s refill sections and handy information across the site. Festival goers will also be encouraged to take a free kidney health check to see if they might be at risk of the condition.
The charity is also encouraging runners of all abilities to take to the iconic Silverstone track for a Friday Fun Run to raise money for Kidney Research UK. The Run will help the charity to fund vital research whilst allowing keen motor racing enthusiasts the opportunity to tread the famous track.
For more information on the Silverstone Festival tickets and events, please visit – https://www.silverstone.co.uk/events/silverstone-festival
To sign up for Friday’s Fun Run, please visit – https://silverstonefestival.silverstone.co.uk/fun-run-registration
To learn more about Kidney Research UK and kidney disease, please visit – https://www.kidneyresearchuk.org/
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