Transplant Games – Q&A with Paul
Paul, one of our Salford Royal Kidney Ambassadors, talks about his experience of participating in the British and World Transplant Games. Read about his achievements, how the Transplant Games have helped him, and why he thinks more people should get involved!
- Tell me about yourself.
My name is Paul Reynolds. I’m 43, a husband, a father of four children, and a grandad to two boys.
- Tell me about your journey before getting a transplant.
I used to go to the gym and play five-a-side football many years ago, as well as enjoying fishing and socialising. I started feeling ill around 2007 when, after various tests, I was diagnosed with IgA nephropathy in 2008. I didn’t really take things seriously at first after being told I probably had about 20 years before I would need dialysis. Unfortunately, in 2011, I ended up on Peritoneal Dialysis. However, my life changed when on the 7th March 2012, my very brave sister, Catherine, donated one of her kidneys to me.
- How and why did you get involved in the transplant games?
After my transplant, I had always wanted to raise some money for a kidney charity. After finding out about the transplant games, which I had never heard of until then, I decided to get involved.
- What did you do at the transplant games?
At my first Transplant Games in 2014, I won gold in the badminton doubles and silver in ten pin bowling whilst also raising over £350 for the British Kidney Patient Association (BKPA). In 2015, I won silver in the 50m breaststroke and, in 2016, I won silver in the badminton doubles and the 50m breaststroke.
I was also invited to represent Team GB and NI in 2015 at the World Transplant Games in Argentina. There I won silver in the ten pin bowling doubles. I am also in training for this year’s World Transplant Games in Malaga. I will be competing in the ten pin bowling singles, doubles, and mixed doubles, badminton doubles, and 50m breaststroke.
- What impact has the transplant games had on your life?
I now play badminton regularly and I have recently started playing transplant football. I swim regularly and try to keep fit. I also took part in this year’s Manchester Marathon along with three other transplant recipients. I have met and still meet lots of new people on my transplant journey and I’ve made so many new friends.
- What do your family and friends think of your participation in the transplant games?
My family are so supportive and without my wife’s (Jenny) help especially, I could not do half of what I do these days. My friends are so supportive of my participation in the games too, I am very lucky!!
- What would you say to other kidney transplant patients who are considering getting involved or have never heard of the transplant games?
I would say come along and have a chat! You don’t have to be a sportsman to attend the games – people are there with various fitness levels. We are all there thanks to our donors, so come along and celebrate the gift of life with us!!
- Sum up your experience of the transplant games in three words.
Friendship, fun, amazing!!
- What have you got planned for the future in terms of transplant games?
I want to compete for as long as I’m still able to and enjoying it. At this year’s games in Lanarkshire, I am competing in the swimming as well as trying the Javelin 100m and 800m for the first time. I just feel like “why not, I’ll give it a try.”
- How did you feel on World Kidney Day being a Salford Royal Kidney Ambassador and being able to share your story of the transplant games? What was the response you got from people?
I was very humbled to be asked and I’m always willing to share my transplant story. It was especially nice to speak to some of the renal patients and staff as well as lots of the general public who stopped and asked what we were doing. I would be very happy to do this again, in fact I have already booked the day off work for next year’s World Kidney Day!!
If you are interested in getting involved in the British Transplant Games, check out their website at http://www.britishtransplantgames.co.uk – the deadline is FRIDAY 12TH MAY!
Why not have a read of this blog by one of our consultants talking about her experience of the British Transplant Games? You can find the blog here: http://gmkin.org.uk/salford-royal-transplant-games-2017.