A former Huddersfield man is to compete in the British Transplant Games after already winning masses of medals in the past.
Former Salendine Nook and Greenhead College student Mark Brown will be taking part in the games in Birmingham from August 2 to 5. The games, which have been run annually since 1978, will see more than 700 athletes participating in over 25 events cheered on by over 1,250 supporters.
Mark, 51 suffered from the hereditary condition Alports Syndrome, which led to kidney failure at the age of 25. After 20 months on dialysis lasting for four hours a day, three days a week, he had a successful kidney transplant in 1994.
He now lives in Nottingham working as a kitchen designer for Howdens Joinery.
Mark said: “It was scary when I got the call to say a transplant was available. My condition was stable and, though now a routine operation for the specialists involved, still not without risk. Thankfully it’s now 24 years since my transplant and it’s still going strong. I’ve represented Nottingham City Hospital by participating in the British Transplant Games for the past few years in Sheffield, Bolton, Newcastle & Gateshead and Liverpool, winning medals in the 100m, bowls, darts, archery and basketball.”
Mark has also represented Great Britain at several Winter World Transplant Games, winning medals in skiing, snowboarding and curling. He competed a hat trick of gold medals in curling in Switzerland at the Winter World Games in January this year.
His 41-year-old brother, James, had a kidney transplant 13 years ago and will also be competing in the games but not in the same events. He lives in Salendine Nook and will be taking part in archery, 10-pin bowling, darts and five-a-side football.
The competition this year will be intense as participants will be hoping to qualify for the summer World Transplant Games to be held in Newcastle & Gateshead in 2019.
Mark added: “While the games are fun to compete in, and the medals nice to receive, the real aim it to showcase the benefits of transplantation. Every 10 minutes, somebody’s name gets added to the donor waiting list and three people die daily because they can’t get the organ they need. More than 6000 people in the UK are currently waiting for a transplant but with only 34% of the UK population actually registered as organ donors, the NHS Organ Donor Register team says more work needs to be done to raise awareness of donation and to urge those on the donor register to share their wishes with their loved ones.”
To add your name to the NHS Organ Donor register, call 0300 1232323, text SAVE to 62323 or visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk .