Life Wellbeing ‘It meant so much to him’: Grieving widow takes up fight against kidney disease
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‘It meant so much to him’: Grieving widow takes up fight against kidney disease

Jodie Jeeves, pictured with her five daughters, has taken over from her late husband Shane as an ambassador for kidney health.
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Shane Jeeves was fit, active and trim – and he liked to talk. You wouldn’t think he had advanced kidney disease to look at him.

All up, he made a great ambassador for Kidney Health Australia – and he continues to do so, even in death.

Within 12 months of taking on the spokesman role, Mr Jeeves died suddenly at 48 from complications of kidney disease, leaving behind a wife and five daughters.

That was in December. Now, on the eve of Kidney Health Week (March 15-21) his widow Jodie has stepped in to continue Shane’s work.

“I’m doing it because it meant so much to him,” Mrs Jeeves told The New Daily.

Jodie Jeeves and her late husband Shane. He didn’t look like the sort of person to come down with kidney disease. Most sufferers don’t. Photo: Jeeves family

Mr Jeeves was diagnosed with early stage kidney disease when he was 39.

“Some of the numbers on his blood test weren’t right and he had high blood pressure,” said Mrs Jeeves. “They said it was nothing serious, just keep an eye on it. It was once-a-year appointment.”

Everything seemed to be travelling well enough.

“We knew his kidney function was declining but he could still get by. he kept playing cricket until 2017,” she said.

Then in 2019, perhaps because he’d picked up a virus, Shane’s kidney function “plummeted” to five per cent.

“He was really unwell and required emergency surgery to get a dialysis catheter into a chest vein,” said Mrs Jeeves.

“With kidney disease you really don’t know what’s going on under the surface.”

In May last year, Mr Jeeves was telling his story in support of Kidney Health Week.

“I had no idea I had kidney issues. I played cricket twice a week, I wasn’t overweight. That’s the thing. Most people with kidney damage don’t even know they have it and continue doing damage to themselves without knowing,” he said in a press release.

And now he’s gone, and his widow is left to do the talking. It’s her name on the press release this year.

How is she getting by?

“I have lots of my children living at home. We’ve got a very good support networks just among ourselves,” she said.

Most people reading this story – if they get past the headline – will tend to think “this is nothing to do with me”.

But since 2009, admissions for dialysis have increased by 3.9 per cent on average each year.

Kidney Health Australia has launched an Evidence Report detailing the extent of kidney disease in Australia. It finds that more than half of all kidney failure cases in Australia are caused by diabetes and hypertension

Kidney Health Week this year focuses on the importance of early detection of kidney disease and urging people to check their risk factors at kidney.org.au/kidneyrisktest, and if at risk to seek a Kidney Health Check from their GP.

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