Thornton Heath student Ankur Patel who lost eyesight to kidney disease inspired by Stephen Sutton to raise money for St Helier Hospital's South West Thames Kidney Fund
A diabetic student who lost his sight to kidney disease is raising money to help others after being inspired by teenager cancer victim Stephen Sutton.
Ankur Patel, of Mayday Road, Thornton Heath, was also left needing nine hours of dialysis every day by the disease, which struck him down in 2007.
The 36-year-old wants to repay the doctors and nurses who partially restored his sight and have supported him through the "life-changing" illness.
Mr Patel, a patient at St Helier Hospital’s specialist renal unit, has organised a five-a-side football tournament and family fun day to raise money for the South West Thames Kidney Fund, a charity based at the hospital.
He said: "The team at St Helier have been brilliant at keeping my mood high. They have become a fixture in my life, like extended family. They have been really helpful and they do that not just for me but for so many other patients.
"It is really overwhelming that these people care so much. They get a lot of stick from people but if you go anywhere else in the world you don't get that kind of treatment."
Mr Patel continued studying a youth work and community development course at Goldsmiths university despite suddenly losing his sight in 2008 due to detached retinas, a complication of his diabetes.
Doctors were able to restore the sight in his right eye after two months, but in 2010 he suffered kidney failure that left him needing round-the-clock care.
He said: "My visibility was about five to ten per cent, I could not see anything in front of me. It was really frightening, a horrible experience.
"You take it for granted because every day you wake up and look out your window. It might not be a great view but you can see something and then suddenly you can't see anything.
"Life just becomes really difficult and challenging. Even when there were people in the room I felt alone. I had panic attacks, I couldn't sleep."
He added: "Going on dialysis was life-changing. It was a daunting thing to look at but the nurses have been really good and the doctors have been fantastic."
Teams of seven can enter the football competition, on Sunday at Powerleague in Hannibal Way, Waddon, for £35. Other entertainment, including a bouncy castle, fun slide, face-painting and barbecue, will be free.
Call 07402 940 862 or email email@example.com for further details.
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