'Second chance' Michael is South Africa bound

DOUBLE kidney transplant survivor Michael Lord is gearing up for a gruelling 109km bike ride in South Africa to support other patients across the country.

The dad of two, who was diagnosed with renal failure in 2003 at the age of 18, had a failed transplant from his dad in November, 2005, before being given a second chance after receiving a kidney from another donor in 2007.

He is now preparing for the Argus Cycle Challenge later this year, to raise money for a clinic for transplant patients aged 16 to 30, which he says offered him a “real turning point” in his life.

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The 30-year-old, of Rawmarsh, said: “I felt extremely fortunate to be given a second chance at life but knowing that someone out there had lost theirs was overwhelming.

“At the time it was hard to explain what I was going through. I felt I couldn’t talk to my family about it, my friends wouldn’t understand and all the other patients at the hospital were way older than me.

“Everything that happened to me came as a massive shock.”

Michael said he had been told about a young adults weekend for transplant patients aged 16 to 30.

It was organised by a transplant doctor from Oxford and provided patients with a chance to share their experiences.

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Michael, of Oakwood Crescent, said: “Looking back now, the weekend was a real turning point for me in coming to terms with my diagnosis.

“But unfortunately, there’s only one Young Adults’ Clinic in the country. For the rest of England, you’re either cared for by a paediatrician or you go to the normal hospital with the rest of the adults - there’s no middle ground.”

Michael, who competed in the British Transplant Games last year, will join other transplant patients from the clinic on the trip to Cape Town in March to raise money.

He will be one of 36,000 cyclists taking part in the event around the Cape Town Peninsula.

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“When I was asked to take part it was an offer I couldn’t refuse as it’s a chance for me to give something back to the people who have helped me so much,” Michael said.

“I have two daughters - Alexa, four, and Rosie, who is four-months-old - so I want to do something to help me keep fit and hopefully be around longer to see them grow up.

“When my girls look back I want them to be proud of what their dad has achieved even though I’ve had a kidney transplant.

“I also want to do something to make my donor proud. 

“Even though I don’t know who it is, I still think about them every single day. 

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“It’s a really strange feeling that somebody has given you the greatest gift of all, but you’ve never met them and can never thank them.”

Michael said he hoped to raise £1,000 for the clinic to be able to continue and possibly for others to open in other parts of the country.

For more information on his challenge or to sponsor him visit www.justgiving.com/Michael-Lord7