Thursday 30 April 2020 16:16, UK
Former Manchester United striker Andy Cole is starting a research fund aimed at helping to improve kidney transplants and patient wellbeing.
The 48-year-old suffered kidney failure in 2015 and underwent a life-saving transplant three years ago, with the former striker currently in isolation due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Cole is now looking to help others through the Andy Cole Fund run by Kidney Research UK, focusing on research into improving kidney transplants and patient wellbeing.
"I've been mentally strong enough to play football, but this is the toughest battle I've ever had to deal with," the former England striker said.
"I don't want anyone to end up struggling like I did. The mental battle is bigger than the physical problem. Your mind is the most powerful thing in the world."
Cole added: "My goal now is to find better ways to help make life better for people living with kidney disease or a transplant.
"If I can help anybody else, then I'll do just that.
"I'm calling on anyone who is touched by my story to support the fund and give hope to kidney patients. We need hope now more than ever."
The Andy Cole Fund aims to raise at least £500,000 over the next three years, with mental health and wellbeing one of the core focuses - a particularly under-researched area in kidney diseases.
Kidney Research UK chief executive Sandra Currie said: "We know that kidney failure can turn peoples' lives upside down. It is a frightening time.
"Dialysis is gruelling, and life with a transplant - if you are fortunate enough to get one - is filled with uncertainty and risk.
"Kidney failure affects not only the patients but their families and loved ones."