Kidney Kids’ Sheena on New Year’s Honours List

Sheena Dunsmore. Picture: Michael Gillen
Sheena Dunsmore. Picture: Michael Gillen

A charity founder has been given the MBE for her innovation and dedication to children with serious illnesses.

Sheena Dunsmore from Banknock is general manager of Kidney Kids Scotland (KKS) and the 69-year-old has been recognised for services to children with renal and urology illnesses.

Mrs Dunsmore founded KKS in July 2000 and the charity’s dedicated team has since worked tirelessly to support hundreds of kids across the country and their families.

The Stenhousemuir-based charity has distributed over £1.5 million for treatment which has improved the lives of children with these illnesses the length and breadth of Scotland.

Mrs Dunsmore, a mother-of-three whose daughter Karen job shares with her at Kidney Kids, is “overwhelmed” by the award.

She said: “I am very proud. There has been an amazing reaction since the announcement was made, our Facebook page has been going mad. I’m really overwhelmed by it all.

“I think seeing and hearing these comments are worth more to me than anything, it’s really been incredible, but what we do is just support the fantastic work that our doctors and nurses do.

“I am part of a team at Kidney Kids and I just enjoy what I do so it seems a bit mad to be given an award like this for it.”

Special mention has been given to Mrs Dunsmore’s willingness and ability to work with a range of different professional groups which has resulted in innovations to care development and delivery.

Her close work with NHS Forth Valley has been credited with improving the care for children with renal/urology illness and showing both dedication and innovation in fundraising.

The work of Kidney Kids has helped finance many major innovations, such as portable bladder scanners, which save children having to travel to hospital to be catheterized.

In 2005 Mrs Dunsmore was a major influence in the setting up of The Scottish Paediatric Renal Urology to standardise local child renal care throughout Scotland.

Working with the nursing staff and consultants at Yorkhill, key equipment was identified that could dramatically improve the service provision at Yorkhill.

KKS has raised funds and supplied every haemodialysis machine within Yorkhill, haemodiafiltration machines, viral detection equipment, space labs monitoring equipment, biofeedback machine, body composite monitor and contributed towards a Dexa Bone Scanner.

Mrs Dunsmore also worked with the NHS to create a child psychologist post which KKS funded for the first three years. The project was so successful the NHS has now taken over the funding.

Recognising diet is critical, Mrs Dunsmore set out to establish and fund renal dietician posts across Scotland. To date dietician posts have been created to cover Glasgow, Aberdeen, Fife, Dundee and Tayside, all of which are now fully employed and funded by the NHS.

Since 2002, KKS has sponsored a team of children from all over Scotland to attend the annual Transplant Games and organises and funds a family weekend for around 30 families each year.

The hard work doesn’t stop there for Kidney Kids, however, as Mrs Dunsmore looks to future projects.

She added: “Our next project will be to try to get the data of families onto one database that can be shared throughout Scotland, but it will be a huge outlay.”

Kidney Kids Scotland is the chosen charity of the M&S Foodhall in Falkirk’s Central Retail Park.