Through his age and fitness he felt strong and confident enough that he could on take on anything.
But this feeling of immortality was to change rapidly. Callum’s world was turned upside down in 2010 when his kidneys start to fail – right at the same time his mother Lesley was dying with cancer.
Callum, from Westquarter, was a promising footballer who had played youth football Granegmouth Boys’ Club, Falkirk Football Community Foundation and East Stirlingshire youths. He was on trial at Preston North End when his budding career came to an end.
“It was a rough time”, said level-headed Callum, understating the obvious.
“My mum was dying of cancer at the time and I understood the severity of that so that took the focus off my own situation which made it easier for me to handle I think and put it on the back burner.
“It came right out of the blue and I did find it hard, but I was lucky I was so young when it was diagnosed and had more strength to fight it.”
Callum, who has a younger brother Scott (18), spent weeks in hospital receiving treatment after renal failure diagnosis in October 2010, but was allowed home on Christmas eve that year to spend Christmas with his family.
Sadly Lesley passed away shortly afterwards and a grieving Callum had to get on with dialysis for the next six years which saw him visit hospital three times a week for tiring four-and-a-half sessions.
Normal kidneys filter the blood and remove harmful waste products and excess fluid and turn them to urine which are passed out of the body. When the kidneys fail to do their job dialysis is required to take over the procedure a kidney should do.
A tube would be inserted into Callum’s chest or neck to cleanse the blood that was making his organs fail.
Callum was due to get a transplant in October this year. He was prepped and ready for his life-saving operation, but was told at the last minute it wasn’t going ahead which was a devastating setback.
However, two months later the operation finally took place and upbeat Callum is recovering well and looking to a bright future.
“I just had to accept what I had and move on. I had great support from family and friends, especially my boss at City Electrical Factors (CEF) Craig Hunter and his wife Angela who were just fantastic.
“I had the operation at 7am and woke up at noon and didn’t feel as bad as I thought I would. I feel brilliant now, there’s a few side effects but I fell like I’ve got a new lease of life and I can’t put a price on that.”
NHS Forth Valley say 20 residents received kidney transplants last year – the highest number ever during a single year for the area.
Almost a fifth with irreversible renal failure received a transplant without ever needing to start dialysis – more than twice the Scottish average of eight per cent.
Transplantation is not suitable for all patients. In Forth Valley there are up to 100 patients on regular out-patient haemodialysis – 30 per cent of whom will be fit enough to be considered for transplantation and be on the deceased donor transport list.
Consultant Nephrologist Dr Bruce Mackinnon said: “Kidney transplantation is the best form of treatment for individuals who develop irreversible or end stage kidney disease.
“For patients the benefits are improved survival as well as increased quality of life. The multi-disciplinary renal team in NHS Forth Valley has put a great deal of effort into making sure that our patients with end stage renal disease have access to transplantation.
“This is reflected in the increased numbers of Forth Valley patients receiving renal transplants in 2015.”
Most renal transplants for patients from Forth Valley take place in Glasgow – those with diabetes who require a kidney and pancreas transplant are seen in Edinburgh.
Patients can be added to the transplant list up to six months before they need to start dialysis or can receive a live donor transplant from a relative or friend before they develop end stage renal disease. These transplants are termed pre-emptive.
Outcomes after kidney transplant are improving and, among Scottish patients transplanted in the last 10 years, 95 per cent of transplants are still functioning at one year and 88 per cent at five years.
In Forth Valley, the figures are 95.3 per cent and 89 per cent respectively. As of last December, 156 Forth Valley patients had a functioning renal transplant.