National Federation of Young Farmers' Clubs

Fun, Learning, and Achievement

What does YFC mean to me? Charity and support when you need it 

By Matt Denby, 23, Arlford YFC, Lincolnshire

I was 12 when I was diagnosed with kidney failure.

We think I caught E. coli from the cattle on the farm. I had dialysis for six weeks and then they sort of kickstarted themselves and, apart from a few tablets and check-ups, I was able to live normally.

But, because of all the stress my kidneys had been under, we always knew they were likely to fail again.

That happened when I was serving my term as County Chairman for Lincolnshire Young Farmers last year.

They fell to 9% of their function – I needed a transplant, urgently. There must have been five young farmers who stepped up to get tested to see if they were a match. It was an incredible offer. The doctors prefer donors to be between the ages of 30 and 60 and I was very lucky that my uncle was able to donate one of his.

But if there had been no potential donors in that age range, they’d definitely have considered the younger ones. And I know that, if any of them had been a match, they’d have followed through – they’re that kind of people.

It was also a fantastic opportunity for me to use my position as County Chairman to raise money for Kidney Research UK.

Ordinarily, I think I’d have preferred to deal with my condition with a low profile – I don’t like to draw too much attention. But I knew YFCs would get behind it so it was a chance I couldn’t pass up.

Even so, I couldn’t have imagined just how much support they would give me – we raised an incredible £47,400.

We put on a charity ball which drew more than 1,000 people, split 50:50 between current Young Farmers and subscriber members, who we call Not-So-Young Farmers. We raised more than £33,000 just from that.

We had a fantastic committee who organised everything, including around 50 sponsors who were an amazing support.

On top of that, we had lots of individuals doing their own bits, including quizzes, coffee mornings, and lots of running!

I’m so proud of the way that everyone has got behind this – it has been the biggest campaign in the history of the County Federation.

But that’s Young Farmers. For me, being a Young Farmer has given me the confidence to go on and do things like become a County Chairman. And you’re surrounded by all these wonderful people who put all this effort into raising huge amounts of money for a cause that is so important to me – and because it’s important to me, it’s important to them. That’s the YFC family.

I’m recovering now from a successful transplant operation – and a successful year as County Chairman. They were both pretty exhausting!

My new kidney is operating at 90% and the doctors are really pleased with my progress.

In the end, it was my family who gave me the gift of a new kidney and I’ll always be grateful for the generosity and love my uncle showed me.

But I’ve got another family that I know will always be there for me. That’s #TrueYFC.

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