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Croydon student left blind by kidney failure organises charity five-a-side football tournament

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A diabetic Thornton Heath student who lost his sight due to kidney failure has organised a five-a-side football charity tournament to raise money for the South West Thames Kidney Fund. Ankur Patel, 36, has been under the care of St Helier's Hospital for three years and undergoing dialysis at home for nine hours a day. However, Mr Patel's strict hospital routine – which has recently consisted of retina reattachment in both eyes, an iron infusion and treatment for foot ulcers which left him unable to walk for a year – has not stopped him working hard at university. He said: "My sister would read the books to me that I had gathered for research and I would dictate to my friend Darren who would then type it up. "They never once showed tiredness or frustration in being there to help me through my youth work and community development degree and I counted my blessings every day." Mr Patel's blindness was first diagnosed in September 2008 after the abnormal growth of blood vessels at the back of his eye. After a hospital check-up he was referred to an ophthalmologist the very same day. His sight was restored to him following an operation in December of that year. He said: "During the time without my sight I was probably at the lowest point I can remember in my life. I couldn't sleep at night, was having regular panic attacks and waking up in the dark even when the light was turned on. "I felt alone when people were around me and in all honesty slipped into a state of depression." Speaking of the nurses who helped him through the hardest of times, Mr Patel, an avid footballer before his kidney disease diagnosis, said the hard-working team have supported him through every step of his journey. St Helier's renal team made regular home visits to Mr Patel discussing the pathways of treatment and mentally preparing him for the most challenging of times he had yet to face during his life-saving treatment. "They do a lot for thousands of patients like myself and are also a vital resource for those less fortunate and more vulnerable," said Mr Patel. To express his gratitude, he has organised a World Cup-themed five-a-side football charity event and family fun day with activities including face-painting, a sponsored bake sale, and a street magician, tarot card readings, DJs, a pop-up market and special prizes. Hoping to return to work in 12 months, the ambitious hospital patient praised his family and friends for their ongoing support. "If it wasn't for the care, love and support they've given me during this challenging time, I'm sure that the state of depression I was in would have drove me crazy," he said. The tournament will be held at The Power League Croydon, Hannibal Way, Wallington, on July 6. If you want to enter a team, which costs £35, e-mail ankurp40@gmail.com

Croydon student left blind by kidney failure organises charity five-a-side football tournament


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