Disease plagues family: Fight for Mitch after sister dies
AFTER losing his sister to kidney disease in 2013, Toowoomba man Luke Kronk was determined he wasn't going to stand by and watch his brother Mitchell suffer a similar fate.
Although admitting he wasn't the "huggy" type, Luke has never stopped fighting to raise funds for his brother's cause.
This month he started another fundraising initiative through his job at Officeworks, raising funds for the Toowoomba Hospital renal unit with help from the Toowoomba Hospital Foundation.
Mitchell said the renal unit "had given him life" after he was diagnosed with kidney disease at 22.
"When I started to use dialysis, I needed to be in the hospital three times a week, for four hours - it's enough to keep you alive but you feel sick all of the time," Mitchell said.
"Shortly after I started home training with the nurses, so I could use equipment at home. I appreciated how quickly they got me in to do it."
He said the renal unit hadn't only saved his life but also given him something to live for.
"My wife and I were told by doctors that it was very likely we wouldn't be able to have kids due to the health issue," he said.
"However, six months ago, Hayley had our little boy, Kai, and he changed everything.
"Dialysis is hard because you have to keep putting needles in your arms, but now it's easier because every time I do it's extra days with him."
He said the home dialysis had also given him the strength to re-enter the work force.
Now, Luke is aiming to raise $6000 with the round-up fundraiser at Officeworks, all proceeds to be donated to the renal unit.
"I felt that it was the only thing within my power that I could do, anyone can raise money but you have to get the ideas together and just do it," Luke said.
"It all stemmed from losing my sister, that gave me the push I needed to do something about it.
"Life didn't change - it just keeps going on. That's what I wanted for Mitch too, if he doesn't get the medical help that he needs life won't go on and he's got a son now, he's married."
For Mitchell, his brother's support has been invaluable.
"It's really comforting," Mitchell said.
"Family means everything. I've learnt that even more in the last few years after going through tough times."
The funds will go to improving the services at the renal unit, which will be receiving a $2 million refurbishment from Darling Downs Health Service later this year.
The Officeworks fundraiser will continue until Sunday. Those wishing to donate to the renal unit after that can contact the Toowoomba Hospital Foundation on (07) 4616 6166.