Happy-go-lucky Poppy Lancaster has to have ten hours of dialysis six days a week after she was found to have chronic kidney failure.
She was rushed to Newcastle’s RVI hospital last May just hours after having routine food allergy blood test at the University Hospital of Hartlepool.
Now dad Gavin is raising money for charity Kidney Research UK ahead of a sponsored half marathon walk on his upcoming 40th birthday.
He will walk just over 13 miles from Stranton Primary School where he works to Sedgefield Primary School on Monday, March 30.
Gavin, a children’s DJ, said it was a huge shock for the whole family when Poppy’s illness came to light.
She and her twin sister Violet were sent for food allergy tests by their GP as they were dairy intolerant.
“It was tough on all of us,” said Gavin.
“She had blood tests taken for allergies at Hartlepool and were sent to North Tees to be analysed.
“The hospital phoned about three and a half hours later to say ‘you need to bring Poppy here straightaway, there’s a problem with her kidneys.”
By the evening, Poppy was being taken in an ambulance with her mum Becky Lancaster to the RVI in Newcastle where Poppy was booked in for surgery to be able to start dialysis the next morning.
She and Becky, who has become Poppy’s full-time carer, spent five and a half weeks at the hospital where it was discovered Poppy’s kidneys had not formed properly and were not functioning.
Gavin, also dad to son Higham, aged seven, and 13-year-old Gabrielle, added: “It’s very hard to imagine how poorly she actually is because Poppy is generally such a very happy and active little girl.
“With her condition she should be tired all the time, but she only gets tired when it’s bedtime!
“The goal is to get her a new kidney because that’s what she needs.”
It is hoped Poppy will be added onto the donor waiting list as soon as she has undergone various organ scans and immunisations to make sure her body is ready.
Gavin added: “What keeps me going is how amazing Poppy is and how she deals with it.
“She doesn’t let anything affect her and takes it all in her stride.”
He has already raised over £500 from collections and setting up an online fund at website Go Fund Me.
Gavin, who runs Stranton school’s internet radio station, will be joined on the walk by friend and fellow Stranton school parent Jon Hill.
He added: “I wanted to do something a bit different with me turning 40. I have never challenged myself with anything as big as this in my life.
“It’s such a personal cause.”