A Huddersfield man has helped power Team GB to gold at the 10th World Transplant Winter Games in Switzerland – crushing the Germans 6-0 in the process.
Mark Brown was diagnosed with Alports Syndrome – a genetic condition characterised by kidney disease – as a young man growing up in Lindley which led to kidney failure at the age of 25.
After 20 months on dialysis, which was featured on the ITV programme Jimmy’s lasting four hours a day, three days a week, he had a successful kidney transplant in 1994 which transformed his life.
Since then he has never looked back and is a veteran of the Games which took place this year in Anzère and featured more than 200 people including 93 competitors, 78 supporters as well as an international team of volunteers.
Mark, 51, is now a veteran of the Winter Games, having competed previously in competitions as far away as the United States, Italy and Switzerland.
He took part in the curling event alongside Linda Evans from Lockerbie, Sue Swinson from Scotland and a fellow competitor known only as ‘Deano’ from Manchester.
Mark, who now lives in Newark, said: “We must have been favourites but it was still a nice feeling to win.”
It was far from his first success with him winning gold medals in previous events in the curling as well as a host of other medals some of them requiring incredible bravery and skill.
Games president Chris Thomas said: “The games were simply outstanding. The camaraderie, togetherness and spirit were on display for an entire week.
“Participants from 25 countries descended on Anzère for the Winter Games.
“The Games also saw the inclusion of 14 living donors and donor family members who were invited to compete in a select number of races.
“It was the perfect number of participants with a great bond developed throughout the week.
“From a difficult first day with high winds closing the resort, the week finished under perfect blue skies.
“All the team managers supported the games superbly and locals also became a real part of the games as volunteers bringing a real family feel to the event.”
Mark told the Examiner: “I hope you can continue supporting me in promoting the benefits of organ donation and bring to the attention of your readers the need to join the organ donor register and tell their loved ones their donation wishes.”
And he says thanks to the transplant he is now able to lead a largely normal life.