Chef thanks his partner for the priceless gift of health

Kevin Beach with his partner Karen Gomme and her daughter Laura

Kevin Beach with his partner Karen Gomme and her daughter Laura

First published in Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Health reporter, also covering Kidlington. Call me on 01865 425271

EVERY time chef Kevin Beach looks at his ‘beautiful, selfless’ partner he sees the person who saved his life.

That’s because 50-year-old accountant Karen Gomme give him her kidney to help him beat a debilitating renal failure.

And the Bicester man has more than her to thank. Karen’s solicitor daughter Laura, 25 also underwent tests to see if she could be a donor.

Mr Beach, 44, has now nominated the Churchill Hospital’s renal and transplant team for our Hospital Heroes awards.

Today is the last chance for readers to nominate members of Oxfordshire’s health services for an award as nominations close today.

He said: “My life has been transformed thanks to my beautiful, selfless partner Karen and the knowledge and expertise of the staff at both the renal and transplant units.

“Nothing I do for Karen would ever be able to repay her for what she did. It has given me a new lease of life.”

He said of his partner, of Brackley, near Banbury: “She did it for us as well because without me being healthy we couldn’t enjoy the life we had grown to enjoy together.”

After struggling to keep down food and drink, he was sent directly by his GP after a blood test to the hospital for 10 days of tests, in July 2012.

A biopsy spotted scarring on the organ and he was diagnosed with kidney disease and put on tablets, which at one point numbered 32 a day.

He said: “When I was told it was just a total shock and then I had to try and come to terms with it.

“You get unbelievably tired, you have a very restricted diet because all the functions the kidney performs are no longer there.”

He said of his new chicken and pasta-based diet: “It was a bit boring after a while, I am a chef by trade so it wasn’t the easiest of times.”

His partner and her daughter immediately offered to be donors, he said, even though he did not know if they would be a match.

When he reached the point where he needed a transplant, the couple went under the knife on September 16, 2013.

The Acorn Close resident said: “It was like someone had almost given me a new battery. I felt recharged.”

Mrs Gomme said: “Why wouldn’t you do that for someone? Especially for someone that means a lot to you.

“People tend to think it is like a big thing but when you go through it you don’t think like that.”

Renal, transplant and urology services Jenny Hayes said: “It is always touching to hear patients’ personal stories and rewarding to know that we have made a real difference – not only to their lives, but those of their families and loved ones too.”

Nominate your Hospital Heroes online at oxfordmail.co.uk/news/hospitalheroes

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