A University of Sunderland student-turned-lecturer’s passion for study helped him through the hardest time of his life – and now he is determined to help others.
Kudz Munongi, 39, underwent a lifesaving double-kidney transplant after he was struck down by massive organ failure.
But, through it all, the student never gave up on his studies and is now working as a senior lecturer in Accounting and Finance at the University.
But, never one to take things easy, Kudz, is also helping students who may have their own health issues via his work with Kidney Research UK and Cancer Research.
It was in December 2004 that Kudz was first diagnosed with kidney disease.
“I woke up one morning and I couldn’t see properly,” he said. “I went to Sunderland Eye Infirmary and they referred me to the city’s Royal Hospital.”
It was there that tests revealed Kudz’s kidneys were full of water and, a few days later, doctors told him he was in stage 4 kidney failure.
Kudz said: “I was terrified, I had no idea what was happening or why. I was just 22 years old.”
Kudz, originally from Zimbabwe but living in Sunderland, was put onto the NHS Organ Donor Register where he waited five years, undergoing dialysis before an organ became available.
“In fact, I had a double kidney transplant,” recalls Kudz. “I wasn’t told much about the donor, only that it was a man who had died in an accident.”
Surgery was performed at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital and Kudz remained there for another four weeks as he healed and his body accepted the new organs.
The transplant allowed Kudz to pursue his dream of becoming a teacher and working in education. He would go on to study his BA and PGCE at the University of Sunderland.
Kudz said: “I believe teaching is my purpose in life, so to be able to pursue and achieve that was a dream come true for me.”
On February 14, 2018, Kudz was diagnosed with a rare form of skin cancer that had to be treated with chemotherapy. He used his break from work to study for his Masters in Accounting and Finance, in between treatments.
Then, unfortunately, Kudz’s kidney function began to decline in December 2020 and he is now back on part-time dialysis until he can undergo another transplant.
However, the lecturer remains determined to help others who have suffered, or are suffering, health issues.
He said: “I want other people to be able to achieve their goals and their dreams, just as I have.
“Even in my teaching style, I’m always trying to encourage students to have the right mindset, to have the best attitude.”
Kudz is in the process of becoming a community ambassador for Kidney Research UK.
He added: “I love living in Sunderland and I love working at this University, and now I hope I can help others as much as possible.”