Leroy Cophen – Living with kidney failure
Leroy Cophen, (43) is a musician originally from West London who loves nothing more than his family and Arsenal Football Club.
In January 2019, Leroy began to have repeated headaches which he just couldn’t shift. After some time passed, Leroy was referred to hospital as the headaches became debilitating. During A & E admission checks, doctors confirmed his blood pressure was over 280. Leroy recalls medical staff saying to him, “Leroy, you’re walking around like normal, but with a blood pressure of over 280, you really shouldn’t be!”
Further tests and appointments later confirmed Leroy was living with kidney failure, with both kidneys working at 25%. One year later, Leroy’s kidneys were confirmed to be working at a dangerously low level of 4% and it was at this point he was admitted and started to receive dialysis.
The last few years have seen Leroy become a shell of his former self. He says “relying on several pills I must take daily to keep me alive and having to inject myself regularly with additional medication has taken its toll on me. I don’t feel present when I’m around my loved ones, which I know is hard for them to see. I fall asleep in the middle of conversations; I’m living with extreme insomnia – I am just not myself.”
Leroy adds: “A friend told me about ACLT (African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust) and the good work they do in spreading awareness on the importance of organ donation, suggesting I should reach out to share my health story.”
“I desperately need a kidney transplant and I do pray that a match is found for me, but it’s also important for me to use the opportunity of working alongside ACLT to encourage people who look like me, to sit up and let them know they have the power to help save the life of a stranger, through making a selfless decision to become a living kidney donor or to keep themselves on the Organ Donor Register, where their decision to donate would be fulfilled after their death.”
Now, living in Swindon with his partner and three of his children, Leroy shares although he is no longer living in London, he continues to visit his favourite city often, to spend time with his parents and siblings and enjoy a weekly plate of his Mum’s delicious home cooked Caribbean food, whilst doing what he can when he feels physically and mentally strong enough to raise awareness of his kidney transplant need as well as the need for others living with kidney failure like him.