I'm Nicola and I'm 36 years old. 3 years ago, I was given a gift that gave me hope, strength and a reason to never give up on anything. 3 years ago, the bravest man I know, parted with a bit of himself to enable me, to fulfil and live my best life. 3 years ago, my Dad gave me one of his kidneys.
At age 18, I was diagnosed with a chronic kidney condition with no cure. I remember that period of my life very clearly, I thought the world had ended, being the naive teen that I was.
Little did I know, I went on to live a good life. Although tiredness hit me easily with some aches and pains along the way, my condition didn't really stop me from doing anything thankfully. I was even lucky enough to have my beautiful miracle baby girl.
Then, aged 28, with the impact of pregnancy on my body, my kidneys took on more than what I could cope with. With high strengths of medication, my amazing renal consultant managed to stabilise my kidneys for a few years but we all knew that transplantation time was nearing.
Those early years with my daughter were a struggle. I felt my body ageing rapidly as my kidneys were slowly failing. My energy levels were low all the time, not easy with a toddler in tow and I just couldn't get any sleep. My appetite got more and more fussy and I felt like I was losing control of my body and there was nothing I could do about it.
So at age 33, the time came... I received a kidney transplant from my father, who at at 69, was fighting fit and passed all the tests to donate!
It's not been a simple sailing but now, 3 years on, I feel the best I've ever felt. By choosing to be a living donor, my Dad has given me that second chance and I will forever be thankful to him. I now have a fun, fulfilled life with my daughter and we don't waste a second!
So feeling this good, I thought I'd challenge myself and enter the 2018 British Transplant Games in Birmingham this August! I shall be competing in four swimming events to include the 50m in backstroke, freestyle and breaststroke and also a 50m relay race!
The Transplant Games gives both adults and children who have undergone organ transplants a sense of focus and achievement and we are all here to support each other no matter what place we come. We know that a few weeks, months or years ago, taking part in something like this would never, ever have been possible.
I am a late entrant into the Games this year so I haven't a lot of time left to get my training in! I am just going to do my best with the comfort that I will be taking part in such a wonderful and inspirational event hoping to raise awareness for Organ Donation and show just how much it really can change someone's life for the better.
You can find out more about the British Transplant Games here: www.britishtransplantgames.co.uk
Thank you Freedom Leisure for your support!
The Arun Leisure Centre have provided Nicola with a FREE 3 Month's membership to help her with her journey to the Games. Good luck Nicola - and thanks for letting us follow your story!