What an incredible weekend and I've met some pretty incredible people too here at the British Transplant Games in Birmingham.
After a bit of a rocky warm up where it was the first time I'd dived since I was a teenager (I hadn't been practicing this in training!), my goggles filling with water and my nose clip completely coming off and sinking and then spending the rest of the warm up trying to locate said nose clip, I decided against diving for the races! But I'm pretty well chuffed I came away with a Bronze medal in 50m Freestyle & a surprise Silver medal in 50m Backstroke! I'm utterly flabbergasted in fact!! These competitors are unreal! Loved hearing some of their stories and also some of the supporters.
There was one particular couple who I chatted to after swimming who had lost their daughter 12 years ago. They've been coming to watch the Transplant Games ever since as they just never know if one of the competitors has one of his daughters organs - they are just in awe of how life can go on...
Thank you to not only my #teamportsmouth for making me feel so welcome but for all the others I've met too in the different teams across the UK! It was an event full to the brim of absolute determination and strength, always to the end of every single race/event I managed to watch. Simply an unforgettable atmosphere where we were all united, the transplanted, the donors and the family and friends, the supporters. We even bagged a Guinness World Record for having the biggest number of transplanted people EVER in one place... AMAZING!
I gained an idea of how fast I can swim now after my kidney transplant and I intend to beat my times in next years Games too which is to be held in Newport, Wales. I'm already looking forward to it and keeping up the training which has helped not only my general fitness and keeping me healthy but giving me some personal goals to focus on too!
Thank you so much to Freedom Leisure for your support. This fantastic opportunity to train for something which has become very close to my heart, has helped me to raise awareness for the importance of organ donation to help show what a difference it can make to somebody's life. I'm so lucky to be able to take part in the Games this year and it's all thanks to my living donor, my Dad. None of this would have been possible without his super kidney! But a lot of the competitors did not get to meet their donors who are sadly, not with us today. I know that every single one of the competitors did their donors proud at the weekend whether they won a medal or not and it was a very emotional time as I know their donors were never far from any one of their minds whilst they were competing. A feeling of luck and blessing sat with us all over the whole weekend. We were all lucky and blessed to be there... #donatelife #lifeaftertransplant
It’s finally arrived and I’m so excited! On Friday, I leave for the British Transplant Games in Birmingham! I’m competing in my 4 races on Saturday afternoon and I’m feeling pretty nervous although so excited to be involved.
I’m really looking forward to meeting so many other fellow transplant recipients from around the UK and learn more about their stories. I can already feel that the whole experience is going to be a very emotional one indeed. We are all going to be there to do our donors proud!
I have trained the best I can and hope this will bring in some good race times for me! As I was a late entry into the Games, I can hopefully prepare myself properly for next years Transplant Games as this is definitely something I’d like to continue working towards. A hopeful goal would be to get into the World Transplant Games but let’s not get ahead of ourselves!!
These are some pictures of the Olympic pool in Birmingham and it looks huge and a little daunting but I’m going to give it my best shot!
Thank you again for all your support and I’ll let you know how I get on!
I feel extremely lucky to be able to get involved in the Games this year for the first time and hope I can make my kidney donor, my wonderful Dad, proud of what I can do now - fingers crossed!
My training for the British Transplant Games in August is going well and big thanks for the membership by Freedom Leisure!
By that I mean, I'm still feeling well and healthy enough to take part, sometimes my health does feel like a bit of a ticking time bomb!
The last 3 years since my kidney transplant has been a little bit of a rocky one and this is the first time I've started to physically train for an event within a time scale. I know that something could go wrong at any time as a transplant is a treatment, not a cure but when things are going good, its excellent treatment!
There is no pressure for the Games as its all about taking part if you are able to but naturally I want to complete each race too and achieve the best timings that I can. I'm training 2-3 times a week fitting it around work, school runs and being a mum to my 7 year old.
Last week I hit a personal best time in breaststroke and I'm hoping to still close in on my target time for that particular stroke as it seems to be my strongest out of all the categories. When I swam competitively 23 years ago for Bognor Regis, front crawl and backstroke were always my strongest. But that was a very, very long time ago!!
Just in even the short space of time I've been training, I already feel much fitter in myself and because I've set a goal to compete in the Transplant Games, it's really giving me that push to keep going and it has definitely sparked some big motivation within me.
I'm trying to keep a positive mindset on everything along the way and staying focused which I feel is a massive key to my wellbeing and the exercise is most definitely helping with that too!
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!