A photography student from Ropley with a chronic kidney disease has launched a fundraiser for KidneyCare UK.

Merryn Holmes-Jefferd, a marine and natural history photography student, was a final year college student when she started getting severe headaches two and a half years ago. 

After consulting a doctor, she found out she has stage-4 kidney disease. 

The young Falmouth University student now faces being forced to leave the final year of her  course to join the kidney transplant waiting list and receive dialysis treatment as her disease gets worse. 

As an aspiring photographer, she has been warned that scuba diving with her condition can be potentially dangerous and life-threatening, but Merryn’s ambitious outlook means she refuses to give-up her dream as a marine photographer. 

READ MORE: Winchester City Council animal welfare team double platinum awards

With medical advice, daily testing and support from her course tutors, Merryn was able to join classmates at a recent photography and diving expedition in Egypt, but her daily blood pressure results meant she was forced to sit out some of the dives. 

She said: “I was getting headaches, and they were stopping me from doing anything. I thought ‘This is stupid, I've had enough of this let's go to the doctors’  They did my blood pressure and levels are supposed to be around 80 and mine was 189 so they're like, ‘Okay you need to go to hospital'.

“There's nothing you can do about it. Slowly over time my kidneys will continue to deteriorate. It's weird but looking back now I used to do gymnastics and trampolining and as I've gotten older, I've found that I've slowly gotten more out of breath.” 

Merryn and her family have launched themselves into raising money for KidneyCare UK with Merryn and her Dad recently completing a skydive to raise funds for the charity. Now determined to secure her degree, she has plans to continue with a career in photography after the course.

She said: “I have no idea what the future holds but basically, I'm hoping I'll make it through my third year without needing a transplant. I’m hoping the transplant can be put off until after my degree.

“With everything that’s gone on with my health, I definitely go for it a lot more now. I try to make the most of everything I can because at some point I know my kidneys will stop working. At the moment, I'm quite well, I'm not too bad, but every now and then I get a bit rubbish but and I know that slowly over time, I'm just going to feel more and more ill, so I keep trying my best at everything.” 

To donate to the fundraiser, visit: justgiving.com/page/vince-holmes-jefferd-1681388076711.