POSITIVITY THROUGH PAIN: Athol Fuller wants to raise awareness and funds for kidney disease and transplant
POSITIVITY THROUGH PAIN: Athol Fuller wants to raise awareness and funds for kidney disease and transplant Kathryn Lewis

'How many friends would you like to lose this year?'

"HOW many friends would you like to lose this year?"

Athol Fuller has said goodbye to 18 mates he does dialysis with at Grafton Base Hospital since last year.

Mr Fuller has chronic kidney disease and goes to hospital three times a week to undergo the five-hour treatment that keeps him alive.

"Most of the ones that pass away have either run out of age or health, orthey just can't handle the five hours dialysing every second day," hesaid.

"It's a very tight-knit group.

"One of them will drop off the perch. But the nurses will not tell us that it's happened. We will found out in our own little way."

According to the Australia Institute of Health and Welfare, 10 per cent or 1.7 million Australians have signs of the "highly under-diagnosed" condition of chronic kidney disease.

Having watched so many of his close friends pass away, Mr Fuller has been fundraising in recent months for kidney transplant research, with the money going to Newcastle's John Hunter Hospital in a bid to provide more scope for transplants with more trained professionals and to get the word out about organ donation.

Several car boot sales this year have raised about $600 but Mr Fuller is calling on the community to help him.

To donate or to join Mr Fuller's campaign phone him on 0419220867.