The transplant patient who went on to become an athlete
At 29, with no previous health conditions, Chris loved two things – his son & football. Then one day, which began just like any other, ended with him in hospital fighting for his life, Chris began to feel unwell on the football pitch. He tried to play on, but suddenly cramped up and vomited huge amounts of blood on the grass. When the ambulance arrived it became clear that he had internal bleeding losing 14 pints of blood.
Chris had an issue with his liver, (later diagnosed with Budd-Chiari, a rare condition that affects less than one in 70,000 in Europe).1 Chris was told he needed a liver transplant as soon as possible. After 15 months of waiting - the call finally came through. Chris will never forget that moment he heard a donor had been found. It was 12:30 in the morning and he was still up watching Harry Potter, his condition was affecting his body clock.
Chris was rushed to hospital for the second time in his life, undergoing 12 hours of surgery with 3 surgeons, in an incredibly complex operation. Physiotherapists then had to teach him how to walk and sit up again. But now, he’s fully fit and feeling better than ever. He is entering the transplant games and competing in the 100m, 200m and long jump. Already he has completed a 10k race and a charity run for the British Lung Foundation.
Chris is very grateful to his doctors and transplant co-ordinator. However there’s one person he would like to thank above all others, but unfortunately it’s impossible. This is, of course, the donor who was of a similar age to Chris, and who gave him a future at the expense of their own.
- Orphanet. Prevalence and incidence of rare diseases: Bibliographic data. Available at: http://www.orpha.net/orphacom/cahiers/docs/GB/Prevalence_of_rare_diseases_by_alphabetical_list.pdf Last accessed: September 2017.