A MAN who had a lifesaving bone marrow transplant five years ago is hoping to compete in this year’s World Transplant Games in Malaga.
Simon Perkin was diagnosed with blood cancer in 1991, aged 26, and after years of treatment and with his health deteriorating, he had the transplant in July 2012, when a donor match was found.
Since the operation, Simon’s health has steadily improved, a recovery that he has credited to keeping himself in the best possible shape.
Along the way he has scored some significant personal fitness and sporting achievements, including completing the London Marathon just 18-months after his transplant.
He took part in the British Transplant Games in Liverpool last July, where he won four gold medals and his longed-for selection by Team GB for the 2017 World Games in Spain.
They take place from Sunday, 25th June, to Sunday, 2nd July, and involve almost 2,000 competitors from 70 nations worldwide.
All athletes taking part will have received an organ or stem cell transplant, and have to fund their expenses to take part themselves.
Simon, aged 52 and from Warwick, will compete in golf, as well as the 800m, 1,500m and 5k, and his bid for glory has been boosted by a £600 donation from Stratford law firm, Lodders, where his wife, Jane, is a partner.
“I will cover as much of the cost of getting to Malaga and the kit I need, but the fundraising target has been set at £2,500, to help with these expenses, and importantly, to also generate funds for Transplant Sport UK, the British organising team,” he said.
“When Lodders heard of my selection for Team GB at The World Transplant Games, they asked how they could help. The generous donation of £600 is the largest to my campaign.
“I’ve been given a massive opportunity with Transplant Sport UK to represent Team GB and compete at the 2017 World Transplant Games this summer, and corporate support and that of friends and family also making donations is really making the difference for me to get there.
“The event is important in so many ways, especially as it raises awareness around the world of organ transplantation which saves lives. Representing Team GB at the World Transplant Games for Transplant Sport UK represents a major personal achievement. I feel immensely proud to have been selected, and to be alive.
“But the Games also represent a big part of my quest to raise awareness of the importance of organ donation.”
In the UK, three people die every day because there are no organ or blood donors for them. It means a lot to me to help raise awareness of blood, stem cell and organ donation.
Simon added: “I just feel that what we athletes are doing is so important in saving lives. I regularly visit schools to give talks on stem cell research and organ donation because we need to get the message out there.”
Lodders’ senior partner, Martin Green, said: “Simon is a true inspiration.
“He has battled a life-threatening disease and endured major treatment to emerge a highly motivated, driven, and fit individual.
“The firm is delighted to make the donation and support him on the international stage at the Games which are so important in raising awareness of blood, stem cell and organ donation around the world.
“Simon’s selection for the Games is a fantastic achievement, especially when you remember the journey he has taken to beat cancer.”
To join the NHS Organ Donation Register, visit: www.organdonation.nhs.uk
For more information about the Anthony Nolan Trust, visit: www.anthonynolan.org