Transplant survivors cycle through the South African sun

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A South Yorkshire kidney transplant recipient is travelling to South Africa to race 100km around Cape Town.

Michael Lord, aged 30, is competing in the Argus Cycle Challenge to raise funds for a centre which helped him cope with the stresses he suffered as a young adult going through transplant operations.

Michael, a store manager at Superdrug on The Moor in Sheffield, said: “It’s so important that centres like this exist as it really helps young people talk and look out for each other so they can cope with everything they’re going through.”

At the age of 18, Michael was diagnosed with chronic renal failure and required a transplant.

After a failed living donor operation from his father, Michael was placed on the waiting list for a kidney transplant procedure.

As a young man, Michael felt he had nobody to talk to about the operation and what was going on in his life.

The Rotherham man said: “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.”

After receiving a successful transplant operation at the Northern General Hospital Sheffield, Michael heard about a Young Adults Weekend organised by Dr Paul Harden, a transplant doctor in Oxford.

The weekend gave young people like Michael a chance to meet and talk to like-minded individuals going through similar experiences.

“Programmes and units like this are vital after transplants, they really help young people who’ve had transplants,” Michael said.

“If you’re not feeling great and are worried about remembering to take the medication at the right time it’s great because you can remind and look out for each other.”

Dr Harden works at a specialist Young Adults Transplant Clinic in Oxford which is the only one of its kind in the country.

Michael has been a keen cyclist for more than two years and was offered the chance to go to South Africa in September last year.

He said: “We’re hoping to raise funds for a transplant clinic over there as well as the organisation in Oxford which helps young adults.”

Michael will be riding alongside five other members of the transplant community in a bid to raise £1,000 for the charities.

To donate to Michael’s cause visit https://www.justgiving.com/Michael-Lord7