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2020 European transplant games

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I am raising money to help fund my attendance at the European Heart and Lung Transplant Championships, in Vitoria-Garetez, Spain in June 2020.

Organ recipients from over 20 countries compete. The games aim to promote the benefits of organ donation right across Europe, educating and encouraging the public to increase numbers of potential donors. British people regularly benefit from organs donated across the continent, myself included.

The games take place every 2 years and attendance is entirely self-funded. Costs, including equipment, training and games attendance/travel/accommodation fees are in excess of £1000.

I have been fortunate to attend previous games in Holland, Lithuania and Italy. At the last games in Italy I won gold in 400m athletics, silver in the 1500m, silver in road cycling, silver in the biathlon and bronze in the 5km cross-country running. In June this year, I hope to surpass this performance in both athletics and cycling.

This year it is especially poignant as it is my 10th transplant anniversary of my double lung transplant. At the time of my transplant I was told I only had a 50:50 chance of waking up, and if I did I would have 5 years from my new lungs if I was lucky.

My training has already been underway since September last year and is progressing very well.

Any financial assistance that helps me to attend these championships will be greatly appreciated. Funds will be used on training costs and travel, registration and accommodation.

Written by Richards wife, Wendy:

Richard was diagnosed with CF at the age of 3. Throughout his childhood, his only way of having some normality of life was to undergo copious amounts of daily physiotherapy, nebulisers and tablets, with regular IV antibiotics and hospital admissions. Later on, during his PHD study, his health began to rapidly deteriorate because of a persistent lung infection, with his lung function dropping from 100% to 30% in just over a year. He was placed on the organ donation transplant list at 26, and was told without a transplant his life expectancy would be just 2 years. However, he had to wait over 3 years and in that time, he was faced with 9 false calls leaving him facing near death with a lung function of just 5%. Unable to walk or carry out any normal day-to-day activities he was reliant on oxygen and a machine to assist with his laboured breathing 24hrs a day that made eating and speaking difficult. Think about that for a minute.

Richard was fortunate to have his transplant at Christmas in 2009, at which point he was told his health was so bad he only had 1 to 2 weeks left to live without the operation. He has since gone on to live a good life, competing in 3 previous European Heart and Lung games and raising awareness of the benefits of organ donation. Transplant doesn’t just change an individual's life, but also those that are close to them. However, a transplant isn’t a cure. The medication required to prevent organ rejection is toxic and has many harsh side effects, including increased risk of infection and cancer, kidney damage, fatigue, memory loss and hand tremors. Also, a lung transplant does not cure CF, which still has many complications, including on the digestive system. A year after we married in 2016 (I have a heart transplant and am a student nurse), Richard needed emergency surgery to have most of his large intestine removed, a complication of CF. He again faced near death. He contracted a life-threatening infection while in hospital as a result of the surgery that left him with an ileostomy. This is another complication to his health that he has to manage, but takes it in his stride. Nothing deters him in keeping up his fitness. Despite working full-time as a research scientist and engaging in family life, he rigorously trains hard to improve his fitness and now has the chance once more to compete in the European Heart and Lung games, in sports he very much loves, but most importantly in raising awareness of organ donation. Richard considers himself fortunate despite everything he has been through and continues to go through, but there are many that are not as lucky. Please consider supporting Richard with his Go fund me page. It would mean the world.

Thank you so much. I couldn't be prouder of being married to such a determined and hardworking man.

What causes CF?
An inherited condition caused by the faulty gene CFTR.
The condition is caused by a genetic mutation that means cells in the human body are unable to move salt and water around effectively. This results in a build-up of thick mucus in the lungs and digestive system, as well as a number of other effects.



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