A South Wootton woman, who has inherited a rare kidney condition and faces dialysis, plans to trek across Iceland to raise money for charity.
Donna Leadley, 44, was diagnosed with Alport Syndrome when she was just four-years-old, after her father died of the same condition aged 28.
The degenerative condition affects one in 5,000 people and usually it is males that are affected, while females are usually carriers of the condition.
Miss Leadley said: “I never really expected it so it was quite a shock. When I was younger I tested positive for the gene and have had yearly trips to Addenbrooke’s Hospital since for check-ups.
“My kidneys have been in decline the last few years, but this time it turned out I was the wrong side of 50 per cent and that confirmed I wasn’t just a carrier.”
Donna will need dialysis in the next three or four years.
She said: “It’s never stopped me from doing anything I wanted, but I do suffer from high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
“Now I’m also starting to see signs that it is affecting me. I’m more tired and get very short of breath, I’ve stopped running because of it.
“And I get swelling in my hands, feet and around my eyes.”
Miss Leadley still works two jobs, for Duff Morgan and runs her own dog grooming business called Scruffs 2 Crufts, and refuses to let her condition stop her from walking her labrador.
She how now decided to push her body to the limit by trekking a distance of 35 miles across Iceland.
“The trip to raise money for Kidney Research UK starts in Reykjavik and scales heights of 3,600ft around an active volcano, sees the group crossing ice cold rivers and travelling down a steep drop.
She said: “My ultimate dream is to do the Inca Trail in Peru after this, but even if I only get to do this one before the dialysis, at least I will have done it.
“I still feel optimistic about it all. I’m just a positive person and hope that through changing my diet I might be able to slow the decline down.”
She added: “When my dad died, there wasn’t dialysis but medical science is amazing now.
“I’m lucky in some ways that because of my dad they have been able to monitor my condition and that now I will be able to have dialysis in Lynn instead of travelling to Cambridge.
“At the end of the day, you might be restricted, but at least you can still live. It’s not as debilitating as some illnesses.”
Sponsor Donna at www.kidneyresearchukevents.org/donnaleadley2014