NEW LEASE OF LIFE

Trans­plant Games joy af­ter liver op:

Bangor Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Andy Short is com­pet­ing in the Bri­tish Trans­plant Games, three years on from be­ing told he only had two years to live

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.

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