24 July 2019
Kidney Kids New Zealand has confirmed the appointment of top New Zealand gymnast, Katherine Paton as an official
ambassador for the charity.
While Katherine’s currently training towards the New Zealand National Championships in October, she’s excited about the
opportunity to work closely with Kidney Kids and hopes she will be able to encourage others to make the most of
opportunities and not to let their kidney condition get in their way.
Paton says her own journey with kidney disease has inspired her to become an ambassador for this national charity. “I
was a kidney kid myself and know first-hand what these kids are going through. I want to show them that they can still
do anything and that they shouldn’t let kidney failure or dialysis get in the way. And that despite it all, they can
still live a great life,” she says.
Katherine was diagnosed with a genetic mutation that affected her kidneys in 2008 which meant she was headed towards end
stage renal failure. Later that year, she received a donor kidney from her mother. However, in 2014 her body rejected
the new kidney and it had to be removed. Until she can find a new kidney donor, Katherine must have kidney dialysis four
times a day and limit her intake of fluids to just 800mls daily.
“I’ve been on a kidney transplant list for 4 years and have had over 10 potential donors tested so far, but sadly none
have been a match. It’s a waiting game, but I’m staying positive. I have signs on my car and have created a Facebook
page (Kidney4Kp) to try and find a donor,” says 25-year-old Katherine.
Kidney Kids NZ CEO, Keith Mackenzie is thrilled to have Katherine on board as an ambassador for the charity. “Despite
her health challenges, Katherine has demonstrated incredible determination to continue training as a member of the
national rhythmic gymnastics team. I hope other kidney kids can look at Katherine as an inspiration and think that if
she can get through it all then they can too,” Mackenzie says.
Katherine joins Joeli Vidiri and Walter Neilands who are also current Kidney Kids NZ ambassadors. Walter Neilands
recently competed in the latest season of Dancing With The Stars NZ to raise money and awareness for Kidney Kids NZ. The
late Jonah Lomu was also a great supporter of Kidney Kids NZ in his role as official patron of the charity.