With just one week to go until the start of the British Transplant Games 2018 in Birmingham, athletes from across the UK are getting ready to compete.
Martin Strang is no different, only he is seeking to add to an already substantial medal tally in transplant events.
Archery is the member of Falkirk company of archers and Grange archers man’s forte but this time he is also competing in ten-pin bowling and lawn bowls as well as lifting his bow and quiver.
Martin had a kidney and pancreas transplant six years ago, a procedure which not only qualifies him for the event in Birmingham, but also saved his life.
Martin explained: “I had type-1 diabetes and that was causing me kidney issues. I had a kidney and pancreas transplant in July 2012 which stopped my diabetes.
“However on New Year’s Eve I wasn’t feeling right and after a visit to the doctor it was confirmed the pancreas had stopped working and my diabetes had returned.
“I’ve been dealing with that but still managed to pick up a bow. Every time I do so I dedicate it to my donor, without him not only would I be unable to compete, I wouldn’t be here at all.”
Martin will have his donor’s name on his arm-guard again at the Games which returns to Birmingham after 19 years and with more than 1000 athletes registered.
He added: “This will be the secnd British Transplant Games I will be taking part in. I am just back from the European Transplant games in Sardinia where I received three bronze medals, one for the singles and doubles Petanque and bronze for archery.
“I won a gold medal for the archery last year, and although I am going with no expectations, competition is high as it is the World Games qualifier for the World games in Newcastle next year.
“My transplant really has given me a new lease of life. Since the new gifts – and they are gifts – were ‘plumbed in’, I was no longer diabetic and my system accepted the new kidney and everything worked straight away, so no more insulin and no more being tied to a machine for hours four times a day.
“Attending the games is a massive achievement for me as I have other medical conditions, but with over 1000 other competitors from around the UK, we all have the same thing in common – we have all had the gift of life and wouldn’t have been able to compete if it wasn’t for the generosity of our donors.
“Everything is all thanks to my donor, Toby, a young chap who signed the organ donor register and saved four ther people, for that I will always be grateful and honour hom every time I pick my bow up.”
Held over four days at the University of Birmingham and other venues across the city, the Westfield Health British Transplant Games include more than 20 sporting events.
An attempt will also be made for the Guinness World Record for the ‘Largest gathering of organ transplant recipients’
The Games seeks to celebrate the life-changing effects of transplantation, encourage transplant patients to regain fitness, and
increase awareness of the need for more people to sign on the NHS Organ Donor Register and discuss their wishes with their families. To sign up to the Organ Donor Register visit http://bit.ly/1sAEDaI