Athletes' victory in transplant games

A 23-year-old from Preston has scooped up three medals on the world athletics field, only 18 months after having a heart transplant.

Friday, 28th July 2017, 5:29 pm
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 1:03 pm
A seven year old whose has a new kidney has unleashed a fresh lease of life has spent the weekend competing in the British Transplant Games in Scotland. Harrison Roach from Chorley was born with very rare genetic disease affecting the growth and development of his kidneys and liver. It was not until two years ago that the seven year old was able to have a transplant and he was thrilled to be taking part in the games.

Gary Still soared to Gold victory with a heroic throw on the discus at the World Transplant Games 2017 in Malaga.

He also won two Silver medals – one in the shotput and one as part of the Team GB basketball team.

“I can’t believe what I’ve been able to achieve so far and I’m hoping to better this in the future,” said Gary, of his victory.

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This weekend Gary is on his way to the British Transplant Games in Scotland where he hopes to hopes to challenge the world records in the shotput and discus.

Seven-year-old Harrison Roach from Chorley is also competing in the games where he will take part in the 50-metre sprint, long jump, ball throw, obstacle course and the 3k run.

Harrison discovered a fresh lease of life after having a kidney and liver transplant two years ago.

The youngster was born with very rare genetic disease called Auto Recessive Polycystic Kidney Disease (ARPKD) which affected the growth and development of his kidneys and liver.

At just eight months old Harrison had to have his left kidney removed, and in 2014 his remaining kidney failed and he was quickly put on dialysis until a new kidney and liver could be found.

On March 17, 2015, his family received the call they had always wished for – a kidney and liver had been found and the combined transplant was done in Birmingham that evening.

“When you get the call it’s like you’re in a whirlwind,” said Harrison’s mum Melanie. “It’s like a million different emotions in one day.”

Gary was struck down in summer 2015 by what doctors believe was a sudden virus that attacked his heart. He suffered from heart failure and a heart attack which meant he had to have a transplant.

But after being confined to a hospital bed for three months, Gary was determined to quickly build up his strength and fitness. Only eight months after his heart transplant he competed in the British Transplant Games 2016 in Liverpool, where he was picked for the Great Britain Team.

“After my heart attack and transplant, I lost around four stone in weight, but I quickly started to get myself fit and strong again.

“I wanted to see what sports I could put my strength to use in which is where I started to train in the discus and shotput.” he said.

Within the UK, 7,000+ people are waiting for a life-saving transplant.

Shockingly, three die each day waiting.