NEW LEASE OF LIFE
Transplant Games joy after liver op:
AMAN who was told three years ago he had fewer than two years to live is taking part in the Transplant Games after being given a liver that saved his life.
Andy Short, from Holyhead, was diagnosed with severe liver disease in July 2015 and told he wouldn’t see 2018 unless he got a new organ.
But, within four months of his diagnosis, he had the operation, and now, 32 months on, he is fit enough to compete in the games in Birmingham.
Mr Short said: “I almost had to teach myself to walk again because I was so weak.
“Then I got well really quickly, but there was a rejection of the liver so things were a bit slower after that.
“But, after the summer of 2016, I was working fairly normally, just taking it a bit easy, then this year it’s been back to full strength. I feel unbelievably great.”
His day job is running an outdoor activity centre in Rhoscolyn, where his main passion is kayaking.
He said that getting back onto the water was one of the things that motivated him to get back to full fitness.
He added: “My whole life had been defined by being such a physical, active person and to be so ill that I couldn’t go kayaking and could barely walk, to get to that point where I got back on the water, it was just magical. To feel the water below you and the sun on your face for the first time, it was just superb.”
As well as kayaking, Andy has taken up badminton, playing for Menai Bridge badminton club.
It’s the main sport that he’ll be competing in at the Transplant Games, although he’ll also be playing tenpin bowling and table tennis, just for fun.
“I joined Menai Bridge badminton after the op and I’ve sort of played myself into fitness.
“The good thing about the Transplant Game is they have a social level and more of a competitive level.
“As well as badminton, which is quite competitive, I’m also taking part in table tennis and tenpin bowling, which are on more of a social level.”
Since 2015, there has been presumed consent for organ donation in North Wales, but Andy has urged anybody on the donor register to have conversations about it with their family, so that they can still give the “gift of life” without interference.
He said: “Even when there is presumed consent, it’s important that people have had the organ donation conversation with their families because families can still say they’re not happy with it and that will prevent the organs being donated.
“It really is the gift of life, though. When I had my transplant, I got half a liver and a child got the other half. Within six weeks, the liver grows to full size, it’s the only organ in the body which can do that, so two people’s lives were saved by that.”
For more information on the British Transplant Games, visit www. britishtransplantgames.co.uk.