December 12 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, August 29, 2013
A pair of north Norfolk athletes have backed a drive for organ donation after bringing home a haul of medals from a sporting contest that highlights how transplants can change lives.
Trevor Emery and Sarah Smith scooped five golds and three silvers between them at the annual British Transplant Games. The event aims to raise awareness of the value of organ donation, while showing how transplants can help people lead a new life - and give hope to those on the waiting list.
Mr Emery, from Cromer, and Miss Smith, from East Ruston, have both undergone double kidney transplants and competed at the Games with the team from Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge, where they underwent their life-changing surgeries.
Semi-retired builder Mr Emery won gold in the 1500, 800 and 200 metres and took silver in the 5km walking race, but said the four day event was not about taking home a prize.
He said: “We want people to think about organ donation, that’s the whole point of the Games. It’s the taking part, it’s not really the winning.”
The 61-year-old, a member of North Norfolk Beach Runners, had his first kidney transplant in December 1999, after an earlier illness led to the slow deterioration of both his organs.
His new kidney lasted 10½ years before it became infected and had to be removed. He then went onto dialysis three times a week for 18 months before receiving a second transplant in March 2012.
His recovery meant he narrowly missed last year’s Games but within five months he was training again with the beach runners and determined to take part in 2013’s event.
He said: “I was glad to do it again.
“I feel very fortunate to have had two opportunities and really it’s down to people donating their organs.
“If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be fit and well today.”
Miss Smith received her first transplant from her mum on her
18th birthday in May 1993, after earlier tests revealed she was only born with one kidney, which was not in great condition.
This rejected after 3½ years due to an infection and after nearly 10 years on dialysis,
she received her second kidney in March 2003.
The 38-year-old, who is getting married next September, has competed at the Games since 2004
and this year took home gold in the high jump and ladies double badminton, and silver in the long jump and with Addenbrookes’ volleyball team.
She said the sporting event helped bring people together but it’s main aim was to highlight how a transplant can enable people to lead a normal, healthy life.
“A lot of people wouldn’t be here today if they had not received this (a transplant),” she added.
“The Games tries to promote the signing of the organ donor register and also to bring hope to others that are currently less fortunate.”
For more details about the Addenbrooke’s team and how to become a donor visit www.atgt.org.uk