Seventeen year old John has stepped up for The Rickshaw Challenge, after ill-health left former rider Flo unable to partake.
John has been involved with the British Transplant Games, a national event which has benefited from funding from BBC Children in Need. Having battled organ disease himself, John can relate first-hand to Flo’s condition. Similar to Flo, he experienced a healthy childhood until the age of 11 when, after eight months of tests, he was diagnosed with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), a rare form of kidney disease.
By this time he had just 40% kidney function, leaving him with little energy and forced to give up the sports which he’d previously enjoyed. Over the next year and a half, John’s kidney function continued to worsen and he was put on hospital dialysis, lasting for between three and four hours, four times a week. Still his condition deteriorated though, and after a further three months John required home dialysis each night for almost 11 hours.
In November 2011, John’s life turned around as he received a kidney transplant. Less than a year after his operation, John was proving himself as a keen athlete again, attending the British Transplant Games – which received funding by BBC Children in Need – competing in not one, but four sports. This year John returned to the games, entering into four more categories.
While John’s transplant has seen his life improve dramatically, it comes with mixed emotions as he knows it was the kidney of a young woman who passed away. Each November, on the anniversary of his transplant, he writes a letter to the family, letting them know of his progress and thanking them for their daughter’s kindness.