A short film featuring a farrier from Chulmleigh who received life-saving kidney treatment is up for a national award.
Ros Ford, aged 27, is the subject of a Kidney Research UK film about the impact medical research has had on the lives of people with a rare kidney condition and the film has been shortlisted in the 2020 Charity Film Awards, but needs public votes.
The film is called 'Saving Lives - how genetics research changed the future for people with aHUS' and will be judged by an expert panel, with the winners revealed in the spring at a London awards ceremony.
Ros has a faulty gene which made her more likely to develop Atypical Haemolytic Uraemic Syndrome (aHUS), a very rare kidney condition. It is a life-threatening disease which destroys the kidneys and prevents patients from having a transplant.
Ros became unwell while training for her physically challenging job. At the hospital, because she carried an alert card, doctors could arrange the right tests immediately and they also alerted renal specialist Dr Coralie Bingham.
Dr Bingham knew about Ros' condition and had treated her aunt, who'd died from the complications of aHUS at just 39-years-old.
The film explains how research - funded by Kidney Research UK - was central to finding a treatment.
In the film Ros pays tribute to the work of the researchers, saying: "There were moments in hospital when I didn't think I would come out alive; in the back of my mind I had my aunty's situation in my head as she didn't make it."
Dr Bingham talked of the satisfaction in seeing new treatments benefit patients. She said: "I saw members of this family die from this condition. Now I'm treating them with effective treatment and seeing them restored to be able to work and live a normal life."
Professor Tim Goodship led the team at Newcastle University, which worked out how to block the biological process causing the kidney damage. Eculizumab, the drug which stops aHUS, has now been recommended by NICE and was used to treat Ros.
It has been proven to prevent kidney failure in patients with recent onset aHUS and enables those with failed kidneys to have a transplant.
Prof Goodship, now retired, said: "Finding a drug that was effective was fantastic, because it meant we could not only use it to treat people who had the disease for the first time and prevent them going onto dialysis; but for those already on dialysis it was possible to offer the hope they could get a transplant."
People can vote for the film featuring Ros at https://charityfilmawards.com/videos/saving-lives .