Shrewsbury transplant patient Andy is a runaway success at World Games
A Shrewsbury man who underwent a stem cell transplant seven years ago has just returned from the World Games with a clutch of medals.
Andy Lewis from is now preparing to compete in the Westfield Health British Transplant Games being held in North Lanarkshire from July 27-30.
Mr Lewis received a stem cell transplant nearly seven years ago and will be taking part in the cycling 10km road race, and running in the 5km road race and 400m, 800m and 1500m on the track.
A member of Shrewsbury Athletic Club, he achieved his success at the World Games in Malaga in the 5km road race and 400m, 800m and 1500m on the track. If he is successful in North Lanarkshire Andy will be British, European and World gold medallist in these four events.
Like the World Games, the British Transplant Games exists to encourage those who have received a transplant to lead active and healthy lives while showcasing the benefits of transplantation, and in doing so, to raise awareness of the need for more people to sign on to the NHS Organ Donor Register. In the UK, 7,000+ people are waiting for a life-saving transplant and three die each day waiting.
Mr Lewis said: "Taking part in the British Games encouraged me to rediscover my love for running. Being selected for the World Games made me focus on getting fitter – and it paid off in Malaga. I'm so proud to have won four gold medals, and it was wonderful that my family were there to share the experience.
"One of my hopes was that my experience would help others to believe that having a blood cancer need not be the end of the world, that it is possible to overcome it and get back to a near normal life. And I'm so pleased to hear from a clubmate that it's helping his brother get through his treatment for leukaemia. For me, that is worth as much as the medals."
Over 750 inspiring athletes from across the UK, each of whom has received a life saving organ transplant, will descend on North Lanarkshire along with around 2,000 supporters to take part in 23 different sporting activities over the four day event. Athletes are aged between 3-81 and will compete in competitions including archery, athletics, golf, squash, snooker, tennis and swimming.
Competition will be fierce, but the athletes have already won the race for life – winning a medal will simply be a bonus.
Jim McCabe, chair of the local organising committee, is very much looking forward to an event with lasting impact: “The Games were last held in Scotland 10 years ago, and it appears that we really left a lasting impression, with many visitors then hailing it as one of the best games ever," he said.
"We hope that this year we can make an even bigger impact and sign more people onto the NHS Organ Donor Register.”