In January 2000 I was diagnosed with a condition called Lupus, which was diagnosed after I suffered a pulmonary embolism. At the time I was having night sweats and was tired and breathless. It affected my kidneys and having spent 3 months in hospital the condition settled down. It was quite odd as my brother suffers from lupus and it was strange for two brothers to have it.

For 5 years I didn’t really have many affects, but in December 2005 on Christmas day my Dad noticed my legs were swollen and so we thought there was something wrong with my kidneys. At the same time I was in my final year of university. They diagnosed there was something wrong with the kidneys through a biopsy so I spend New Year in hospital. I was allowed out but 2 weeks later I developed a leg infection and was in agony and so I was rushed back to hospital. They told me that my kidneys were failing me, but I didn’t quite believe what they were saying and I was scared to tell my parents that I would need a transplant as I didn’t want them any more worried than they were.

For three months again I was in hospital and my parents came everyday to see me. I could see how worried and tired they were, but they put on a brave face and I thought I must put on a brave face also.

I was put on a fluid restriction of 750mls a day which sounds ridiculous, but as my kidney were not functioning properly there was no where for the fluid to be passed out. That was really tough coping with the fluid restriction as all I thought about was having a drink. They started me on dialysis and I can remember going late at night and just laying there waiting and hearing the machines bleeping around you and thinking what has happened to my life.

I spent my 21st Birthday in hospital and my university friends came to see me and my parents and brother brought food and cake. I was allowed home in April and I somehow managed to keep within my fluid restriction and in the same year I completed my sports science degree.

My father said he would have tests to be a donor for me and luckily enough I was a match. The doctors wanted to wait a couple a months before my transplant, but my father had no hesitation donating a kidney to me. I also managed to get certified as a personal trainer, which was quite serial as the first few weeks I carried my dialysis kit with me and it was a lot of fluid to carry. I finished in February and a date in April was set for my transplant. Then on 20th April 2007 my Dad and myself were in Guys and he donated his kidney to me. I was more nervous to make sure my Dad was okay then on myself, but we both got through it with my Mum and brother looking after us.

The transplant has changed my life in so many ways as it has given me a second chance at life. I didn’t realise how ill I was until after the transplant and how much energy I had. I remember playing football a year after the transplant and remembering how I would have to stop after a few minute because I didn’t have the energy, but now I had a transplant I had so much more energy and was able to keep going and that was a great feeling. You don’t realise how important your health is until it is compromise to an extreme level.

I got involved in the transplant games after a friend I met on the ward, who had a transplant three days before me noticed there was a leaflet about sports in the clinic. It said about competing at the transplant games. With me being such a big sports fans I felt excited to know there was something I could do. It also mentioned that success participant may get chosen to represent Team GB at the world transplant games. This motivated me to train and compete to do well.

The first Games I went to were the 2008 games in Sheffield and I was nervous and excited about what it would be like. I didn’t know the quality until I turned up. I mainly trained for the 100m and long jump but thought I would give tennis a go also.

My first event was tennis and got a 6-0 hammering by a chap named Paul Bill who played tennis to a high standard. Then I realised this was serious business. I managed to win my others matches and won a silver medal and I was absolutely over the moon. I also won a bronze in the badminton and silver in the long jump. If felt great competing out there. The training has helped my keep healthy and lead a normal life. I was lucky enough to be selected for the world games in Australia where I won a silver medal and have been selected for the World game in Sweden 2011, where I won a bronze in long jump and South Africa 2013. I was also selected to go to Argentina this year but unfortunately won’t be going. The games gives me something to train for, a goal to aim at and sport and exercise in general is a good thing anyway and it also provides a great social event to see inspiring people who have done well at the games. I encourage people that if they want to be a hero like my Dad then sign up to the organ donor register but also discuss it with their family.
The training for the games also helped me keep fit at work as I did personal training for a couple of years and it made me appreciate what I had to be given a second chance of life. At present I work at Moorfields Eye hospital taking scans and other diagnostic tests and when patient have a cataract operation and come back for a post op visit which them seeing better than before, it reminds me like they are being given a second chance of life, just like I was with a kidney transplant which is just amazing.