Father-of-two set to run in King’s Lynn GEAR to raise awareness of organ donation

Stewart South: Pictures submitted

Stewart South: Pictures submitted - Credit: Archant

A father-of-two will be raising awareness, not money as he takes part in the Grand East Anglia Run.

Stewart South, of Blackborough End near King's Lynn, is encouraging the public to sign the organ donor register after both his sons had kidney transplants.

He will be joining hundreds of others for the annual GEAR 10k Run in King's Lynn and will have 'sign up as an organ donor' printed on the back of his running vest.

'If, like me, you have sat by your son's bed while he is in a coma, you would, almost certainly, hope that a donor organ would become available – and soon,' said Mr South.

'Fortunately, on that occasion I became that organ donor. But our other son needed the help of someone else who had agreed to become an organ donor.'

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In 1999, on the May Day bank holiday, weekend Mr South was admitted to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge with his son Joel, who is now 36 and a fitness instructor.

On May 4, he donated a kidney to Joel, who two years earlier had been diagnosed with kidney failure. Then in 2002 his other son, Oliver, having also suffered kidney failure, received a kidney transplant at Addenbrooke's from an anonymous donor.

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Oliver, 39, now runs his own electrical business.

Not a stranger to supporting others, Mr South, 68, raised £4100 for the Kidney Transplant Unit at Addenbrooke's Hospital in last October's Dublin Marathon.

And between 2000 and 2004 he completed the Three Peaks Mountain Challenge, two London Marathons and the New York Marathon, in total raising £12000 for Kidney Research UK

Mr South, who is retired, said: 'Raising money for research into life-threatening diseases is absolutely an amazing thing for people to do. But in the UK there are 7000 people now who are on the waiting list for organ transplants such as heart, lung, kidney or liver. They need their lives saving now, not in years to come.

'So, I'm not asking for sponsorship money for the GEAR Run. But I am asking for you to please help save lives.'

Places for the Bespak GEAR and Mini GEAR Fun Run, on May 1, are going and runners are being encouraged to enter.

Enter online at www.grandeastangliarun.co.uk.

Have you got a story about raising awareness? Email sophie.biddle@archant.co.uk

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