Bridgend’s Sam Scothern is gearing up to take part at the Westfield Health British Transplant Games which comes to Newport from 25-28 July 2019.
The 24-year old has certainly been through more than most, having had two kidney transplants, more than 16 seizures and eight bouts of pneumonia.
But he is putting that all behind him as he gears up to play golf at the Westfield Health British Transplant Games which takes place at The Celtic Manor’s Montgomerie Course.
With more than 1,000 competitors taking part in over 25 different sports and events, the Games promise to be a festival of sport and life, with over 2,500 people expected to attend.
For Sam, it is a dream come true. He was born six weeks premature with multiple dysplastic kidneys – one kidney had disappeared and he was left with just an eighth of the remaining organ. With collapsed lungs, a dislocated hip and a hole in his heart, he was sent home with doctors warning he had just one week to live.
Yet, Sam surprised everyone and he remembers a childhood of feeling “completely normal”:
“I was put on the transplant list when I was eight and waited just 12 months. The kidney lasted around 10 years. It was a month after my 18th birthday that it failed. I was at my Dad’s house and had my first ever seizure. I was taken in an ambulance to Bridgend where I was placed in an induced coma.
“I woke up in Cardiff and I started peritoneal dialysis. I was on it for three months and during that time I had multiple seizures because of all the fluid retention.”
Treatment was not working so Sam was placed on hemodialysis which means going to hospital three times a week for four hours at a time. He was on dialysis for six years in total. He was still on dialysis when he competed at his first ever British Transplant Games last summer in Birmingham where he finished just out of the medals in fourth place.
Ahead of the Games, Sam - who also plans to enter the football come July - is hoping that home support will help him finish in a podium position:
“I feel a lot stronger post-transplant. Hitting the ball feels a lot more effortless whereas it used to take quite a lot of energy out of me. I have always wanted to play at the Celtic Manor and I’m hoping I can play the course before the Games in July to get some practice in.”
The Celtic Manor Resort is a keen supporter of the 2019 Westfield Health British Transplant Games and is providing accommodation and meeting rooms for event organisers and discounted bedroom rates for teams. The resort also sponsored the launch of the 2019 Games in January.
Celtic Manor Resort Marketing Director Vanessa Russell said: “These Games are an inspiration to us all and we ae delighted to be supporting such fantastic endeavour from the athletes competing. We have hosted some amazing events on our golf courses at Celtic Manor and I’m sure the competition for golfing gold at the 2019 Westfield Health British Transplant Games will be every bit as fiercely contested as the professional tournaments we have staged.”
Ann Lloyd – Chair of The Westfield Health British Transplant Games Local Organising Committee – said: “These Games are a superb event – it’s not just a celebration of sport, it’s a celebration of the gift of life. The transplant golfing community are feeling amazingly excited by having the opportunity to compete at the world famous Celtic Manor.
“Providing access to such a high-class course is a huge boost to the transplant community and will help make the Newport Games a memorable event for the social and competitive golfers alike.” Organised on behalf of the charity Transplant Sport UK, the aim of the Games is to raise awareness of organ donation and encourage families to have the donation conversation.
The event is also supported by Welsh Government, Newport Council, Newport Live and the local health boards across Wales, NHS Blood and Transplant, Kidney Care UK, Anthony Nolan Register, and Donor Family Network.