RIVERVALE resident Pauline Catterall (72) was tucked up in a warm bed at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital last Wednesday where she remained for several hours, hooked up to a dialysis machine.
To stay alive, she repeats this process several times a week.
An avid reader, she passes the time engrossed in a book, or crocheting, and at home she knits tiny cosy creations for prematurely-born babies.
She was one of three West Australians presented with an Operation Angel Award, recognised for her outstanding commitment to kidney patients.
Mrs Catterall helps raise funds for the renal unit.
‘I usually go out to shopping centres to get sponsors,’ Mrs Catterall said.
A raffle raised more than $2000 and was spent on items for the renal units like a stool for hospital service assistants to use, ties to secure wheelchairs, and Christmas decorations and gifts for the ward.
Baskets of donated items are given to patients and at Christmas, patients and staff often bring in a tin or package for the Salvation Army, she said.
Mrs Catterall began dialysis at home in 2003 before needing to receive dialysis at the Cannington Renal Unit, where she raised funds for a bench.
She says she is just repaying what she has received.
‘Dialysis is part of my life. Every morning is a good morning if I can help somebody because I’m being kept alive in hospital,’ she said.
Kidney Health Australia chief executive Anne Wilson said the National Angel Awards Program recognised the unsung heroes of the kidney sector.
‘Pauline is a shining example of the difference that one person can make,’ she said.
‘She is a very worthy recipient of the Kidney Health Australia Operation Angel Award.’
In Australia nearly 11,500 people are on dialysis.
More than 1000 are waiting for a kidney transplant.
Sadly, more than 56 die from kidney-related diseases every day.
For more information visit www.kidney.org.au.