Sheffield transplant survivor aims high for 85th medal

Derek Johnson in training at Don Valley Stadium
Derek Johnson in training at Don Valley Stadium
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HE’S got more medals than years to his name.

And liver transplant survivor Derek Johnson, aged 76, is hoping to notch up another glory or five when he competes in the ‘inspiring’ British Transplant Games in Sheffield next year.

The athlete is training hard at the city’s Don Valley Stadium with his sights set on winning his 85th medal.

Derek, from Mosborough, has scooped over 80 plaudits - including 37 golds – in a variety of athletics disciplines at transplant games across the world.

He said: “Training at Don Valley is going really well and it will be fantastic to compete on home soil.

“Unfortunately, because of illness, I missed out the last time the event came to Sheffield in 2008.

“So this time round I’m hoping to make up for it with some great performances.

“I’ve competed in both the British and World Transplant Games since 1998, a year after my transplant was performed, and I’m starting to lose count of how many medals I’ve won!

“The last time I added them up it was about 80.

“It would be great to get another five to take my total to 85.”

Pat Smith, general manager of the Sheffield International Venues stadium, added: “Derek is an incredibly determined man and a superb role model for our younger athletes, showing what you can achieve when you combine hard work and determination.

“He’s got so much energy and enthusiasm and really does live life to the full. We wish him all the best for the 2013 Games and look forward to seeing him back at Don Valley with yet more medals!”

The transplant games, sponsored by Westfield Health, take place at sporting venues across the city from next August 15 to 18.

The aim is to raise awareness of organ donation and boost numbers on the NHS Organ Donor Register.

Derek, who also still works as a self-employed accountant, said: “It is such an inspiring event seeing people young and old, all who have undergone lifesaving organ transplants, compete in all kinds of sports.”

Visit www.donvalleystadium.co.uk or call 0114 223 3600 for more information about the transplant games in Sheffield.