Kidney transplant survivor and former Sea King pilot at RAF Coltishall takes on a charity challenge.
Jim Bellingall, 77, of Aylsham participates in the National Kidney Federation (NKF) Best Foot Forward event, which challenges fundraisers to walk or run 60,000 steps throughout the month of June.
The 60,000 steps, the equivalent of 25.5 miles, represent the 60,000 people in the UK who are on dialysis or have received a kidney transplant.
Mr Bellingall was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease (CKD) following a routine medical examination in 1972 while serving with RAF Odiham in Hampshire.
He said: “Fifty years ago, during a routine medical examination of a crew, the RAF discovered that I had a mild form of kidney disease.
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“Fortunately, it wasn’t bad enough to keep me from flying, so I enjoyed being an RAF search and rescue helicopter pilot for about 30 years.
“The last 20 I was based at RAF Coltishall, patrolling the north Norfolk coast and the rest of East Anglia in a bright yellow helicopter.”
During his time with the RAF, his kidneys were constantly monitored and he was told that at some point in the future he would either need to have dialysis or have a transplant.
That day came six years ago.
Mr Bellingall spent a month on peritoneal dialysis but developed a hernia and I had to stop dialysis to have it fixed.
Two weeks later he received a kidney transplant.
He said: “The transplant was successful and everything has been going well since.”
Since taking on the NFK Challenge, Mr Bellingall has come the miles through the Norfolk coast and countryside, visiting his favorite spots, Blickling Estate and Felbrigg Hall.
His goal is to raise £ 1,000.
Mr Bellingall said: “Please support this fundraiser by the NKF, if kidney disease can happen to me, it can happen to anyone.
“I thought I was in good health and if I hadn’t had a very thorough RAF medical examination, I would not have known for many years that I had chronic kidney disease. You never know if or when you will need their help.
To support Mr. Bellingall, visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/James-Bellingall