Young Doncaster kidney transplant patients are going for gold at British games

Two Doncaster youngsters are competing in the British Transplant Games after undergoing kidney transplants.

Wednesday, 26th July 2017, 11:41 am
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 1:01 pm
Jack Cox, from Tickhill, is competing in the British Transplant Games

Jack Cox, aged four, and Daniel Calow, nine, are part of a 22-strong team from Nottingham Children’s Hospital who are heading to North Lanarkshire, in Scotland to compete.

The pair, along with their families, have been raising money for the trip and Nottingham Hospitals Charity provided a total of £23,000 to fund travel, accommodation and kit for the games

Sandra, Daniel and Darren Calow

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Jack, of Tickhill, is the youngster member of the team and was just three-years-old when he received a kidney from his grandmother, Julie Cox.

He had been born with just one kidney, which was barely functioning, and spent the first two years of his life feeling ill and persistently vomiting, only able to be fed through a tube in his stomach

When his second kidney started to fail, Jack was put onto dialysis and spent 12 hours every night hooked up to a machine.

All Jack's family got tested and against all odds his 59-year-old grandmother turned out to be a near-perfect match.

Sandra, Daniel and Darren Calow

When Julie was tested, she was found to miraculously share five out of the six sets of unique genetic markers with Jack.

When surgeons operated on Julie they found one of her kidneys was much smaller than a usual adult one - so was the perfect size for Jack.

The 56-year-old age difference between the pair is believed to be one of the largest ever for a kidney transplant.

Julie, of Rotherham, said: "It was the best match we could have hoped for. The doctors don't even understand how it's possible for me to share that many sets of genes with him."

Jack's family wanted to thank hospital staff so decided to raise money for its Big Appeal, which aims to raise £3m for enhancements that will benefit patients and families at the hospital, at Tickhill's annual Scarecrow Festival.

Jack's mother Jennifer, 37, said the care from staff that Jack received was 'absolutely amazing'.

"We wanted to do something to give back; we really appreciate all they've done for our family," she added.

Daniel Calow is one of the youngsters taking part. He suffered major trauma at birth and underwent treatment at four different hospitals in the first few weeks of his life, which resulted in end-stage kidney failure.

In November 2014, a suitable match was found and Daniel received his kidney transplant at Nottingham Children’s Hospital. Last year, he attended his first British Transplant Games and won two medals.

His parents, Darren and Sandra Calow, and his dad’s business, DC Training and Development Services, raised £13,000 towards this year's trip by holding a charity ball.

Daniel said: “I really enjoyed going to the games last year and was proud to win two medals. I’m really excited about going again this year, I can’t wait to take part and hopefully win some more medals.”

Dad Darren added: “The Transplant Games are so important. They are a celebration of the gift of life, of the wonderful donors and the athletes able to compete without the handicaps that organ failure hinders them with. There are many Daniels out there and these games celebrate all of them.”

The games take place from July 27 to 30.