Military man Luke taking on virtual marathon in tribute to fiancée Amanda

Edinburgh based soldier Luke Barnes will be running 26.2 miles for the first time as he takes on the virtual Edinburgh Marathon on the 30th May.

He’ll be using the opportunity to fundraise for Kidney Research UK, without whose critical work his partner Amanda, who suffers from Chronic Kidney Disease, ‘wouldn’t be here today.’

“I am running for Kidney Research UK. Without their research the treatment and aftercare Amanda received wouldn’t be available, and their work, along with the surgeons at Queen Elizabeth hospital in Glasgow, saved her life.” Luke told us.

Luke and Amanda’s life changed forever in 2017, when she was initially diagnosed with an advanced stage of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD). It was at this moment that Luke was first exposed to the important work of Kidney Research UK.

“I first became aware of the charity when Amanda was diagnosed. I didn’t realise how many people were affected by CKD, or that it’s something that can happen to anyone regardless of how fit and well they can be.”

The condition generally affects people as they grow older, despite Amanda’s relatively young age. The disease can range from a mild condition with little or no symptoms, to a very serious condition where the kidneys stop working altogether requiring dialysis or transplant.

“Following the diagnosis, Amanda required dialysis three times a week for nearly two years, along with 12 major surgeries and countless hospital appointments. Although she always remained positive, the dialysis took a huge toll on her. Everyday things that most people take for granted became a huge struggle.”

It became clear that a transplant was the best option for Amanda’s recovery. However the couple’s plans were then, like so many others have experienced in the last 12 months, rocked by the impact of the pandemic.

“In the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic all transplant surgeries were halted, and things didn’t look good.”

Thankfully, operations were soon back up and running, but Amanda would still feel the results of the lockdown as she made her recovery.

“On 25th August 2020, Amanda was the successful recipient of a live donor kidney transplant provided by her dad. Without this transplant, she wouldn’t be here today. Having her transplant during the pandemic was a scary time and resulted in her shielding for over a year. There have been a few hiccups during her recovery but she is excited for the future.”

Luke is now determined to pay tribute to his fiancee’s resilience, as well as fundraising for the charity who do so much work to help people suffering from kidney issues. He’ll be stepping out of his comfort zone as he takes on the virtual Edinburgh Marathon.

“I’ve never run a marathon before. I’ve always been more into powerlifting and rugby, so long distance runs have never been my strong point but if it means I can raise a bit of extra money for a fantastic charity, especially during a time when fundraising is limited, then I want to do my bit.”

He’s making slow progress despite a busy schedule and is beginning to get excited as the big day approaches.

“Training is going well (ish). Trying to juggle everything can be quite tricky but I’m certainly clocking up the miles. I’m looking forward to pushing myself into completing something that isn’t anything I would ordinarily do, along with getting over the finish line knowing that any money raised will help someone else that is going through a really tough time.”

Luke will be inspired knowing that Amanda will be behind him in spirit all the way, and they’re both excited to look to the future once the run is complete.

“We are both looking forward to being able to do normal things again, go on a few holidays and then plan our wedding. She will certainly be cheering me on on the day.”

We’d like to wish a huge good luck to Luke when the day comes, we’re sure you’ll smash it!

You can donate to Luke’s fundraising efforts below.Luke’s JustGiving Page