Kidney transplant for trader

As FPJ went to press this week, two New Covent Garden-based brothers were embarking on a joint venture that puts the daily turmoil of the fruit trade well and truly in the shade.

Steve Roberts, managing director of importer Westminster Produce, and Larry Roberts, of AE Booth, were at St George’s Hospital, south-west London, where Steve was undergoing a kidney transplant - the replacement kidney having been donated by Larry.

Steve, who was diagnosed with the extremely rare FSGS syndrome two years ago, around the same time that he acquired Westminster Produce, has been on a dialysis machine for four hours a day, three days a week, for the last nine months.

Although he has remained in control of Westminster Produce, his time in the office has been severely restricted. But his brother’s kidney will offer hope that his working life can return to normality.

“I really can’t say enough about what my brother is doing for me,” Steve told FPJ. “The long-term prognosis with FSGS is not good, but the transplant will allow me to stop the dialysis, eat properly and return to work.”

Before that can happen, he will be in recuperation for three months. “Andrew Booth has been fantastic in being willing to give me this time off,” said Larry, who will also need three months of rest following the donation.

“I would like to thank all of our suppliers and wholesale customers for their support during what has been a difficult time,” said Steve.

“The company really has gone from strength-to-strength thanks to their continued help, and in the office Simon Kelsall has done so much for me and given me the freedom to have the dialysis during the day.”

The national wholesale trade has also put its collective hand in its pocket to the tune of more than £10,000 to support Steve’s efforts to raise cash on behalf of the South West Thames Kidney Fund.