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Transplant patient aims to add to medal-winning haul

By Josh Clarke

MR Mark Brown with the gold medal he won in curling at the Winter World Transplant Games in Switzerland in January.
MR Mark Brown with the gold medal he won in curling at the Winter World Transplant Games in Switzerland in January.

A 51-year-old athlete who underwent a kidney transplant 24 years ago is looking to continue his medal-winning streak at the British Transplant Games.

Mr Mark Brown, a kitchen designer for Howdens Joinery, Newark, will be competing in archery, golf, darts, and indoor bowls at the games in Birmingham, which began on Tuesday and finish on Sunday.

Mr Brown suffered from a hereditary condition, Alports Syndrome, which led to kidney failure when he was 25.

After 20 months on dialysis — lasting four hours a day, three days a week — he had a successful kidney transplant in 1994.

"It was scary when I got the call to say a transplant was available," he said. "My condition was stable and, although a routine operation for the specialists involved, it was still not without risk.

"Thankfully it is 24 years since my transplant and my kidney is still going strong."

Mr Brown has represented Nottingham City Hospital in the Games for several years in Sheffield, Bolton, Newcastle and Gateshead, and Liverpool, winning medals in the 100m, bowls, darts, archery, and basketball.

He has also participated in several Winter World Transplant Games, representing England and winning medals in skiing, snowboarding, and curling.

In January, he successfully completed a hat-trick of gold medals in curling at the winter games in Switzerland.

"The games in Birmingham will give me an opportunity to catch up with friends and my brother, James, who also had a kidney transplant 13 years ago," said Mr Brown.

"Although we are in different age catagories, we try to better each other — James being the more athletic of the two of us.

"The competition this year will be intense as participants will be hoping to qualify for the Summer World Transplant Games in Newcastle and Gateshead in 2019."

The British games have been run annually since 1978 and will see more than 700 athletes participating in 25 events.

Every ten minutes, someone’s name is added to the organ donor waiting list — and three people die daily because they cannot get the organ they need.

More than 6,000 people in the UK are waiting for a transplant, but only 34% of the UK population is registered as organ donors.

The NHS Organ Donor Register team said more work needed to be done to raise awareness of donations — and to urge those on the donor register to share their wishes with their loved ones.

To add a name to the NHS Organ Donor register, call 0300 1232323, text SAVE to 62323 or visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk


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