2,000 mile ride after woman's four kidney transplants

Maureen Hendon Maureen Hendo was not diagnosed with kidney failure until she was 32

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A woman who had four transplants has begun a 2,000 mile (3218km) motor bike ride to help other victims of kidney disease.

Maureen Hendon, 49, and partner Robert Reese, 52, from Malpas in Newport, are riding across seven transporter bridges in 10 days.

They started in Newport on Monday, and were also visiting UK bridges at Warrington and Middlesbrough.

They will ride to Germany, France and Spain, raising money for charity.

Ms Hendon was born with one kidney, but was not diagnosed with kidney failure until she was 32.

Doctors told her she had only five per cent kidney function and very high blood pressure.

"I just couldn't believe it. I was fit and healthy. I wasn't over weight, I didn't smoke. Everything happened very fast. I had gone from somebody who had just a few niggly things to someone who had a life-threatening condition."

Start Quote

I feel like living proof that there is life after renal failure”

End Quote Maureen Hendon

After 10 months of dialysis, she was given the first of four transplants.

But each time, the transplants failed.

"With all the emotional energy that goes with a transplant and hopes and the dreams and the optimism, that was really heartbreaking, just shattering," she said.

After the emotional and physical trauma of the third operation, she was uncertain about going back on the transplant register.

But in October 2006 she received her final transplant.

Maureen Hendon and Robert  Reese at the Newport Transporter Bridge Maureen Hendon and Robert Reese at the Newport Transporter Bridge on Monday

"First of all I was just so shocked to get it because most people wait for so long. But it's been fantastic, really fantastic," she said.

"I feel like living proof that there is life after renal failure."

After visiting the UK transporter bridges. the couple will travel to Germany to ride across bridges in Rendsburg and Osten before going to France's Rochefort-Martrou transporter bridge.

Their final stop will be the Puente Colgante bridge in Bilbao, Spain, believed to be the oldest transporter bridge in the world.

A transporter bridge is a type of movable bridge that carries a segment of roadway across a river.

On the ride the pair will be giving people information about organ donation as well as fundraising.

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