A Banbury man is using his continued sporting success as a springboard with which to promote the altruistic gesture that saved his life.
Andrew Hook, 34, has just returned from the Transplant Games in Malaga, Spain with bronze medal in singles table tennis.
The, games, held every two years, are open to any athlete who has undergone transplant surgery and encompasses all and every type of procedure from bone marrow transplants to heart replacement surgery.
Andrew lives with a donated kidney and in a strange twist of fate it was Malaga where his journey towards Transplant Games success began.
Andrew said: “Bizarrely I was living and working in Malaga at the time in finance back in 2004/2005.
“I was just feeling ill over a period of time, went to the doctors and nothing was initially picked up.
He continues: “My mum and aunty came and visited me and saw there was something wrong, took me to another doctor and it transpired that I was 24 hours away from going to the other side, it was that serious.”
Andrew was nursed back to some semblance of health which allowed him to fly back to the UK and receive the transplant he needed.
After months in the Churchill Hospital in Oxford and daily dialysis a donor was found just eight months after his diagnosis in December 2005.
Andrew knows little of the donor other than she was an 18 years old and died in a car accident. Her gift has enabled Andrew to lead a normal life and he and his wife , Sarah, are expecting their first child next month.
In the UK organ donation is currently on an opt-in basis and one person can save the lives of eight people. Registration takes just minutes at www.organdonation.nhs.uk.
It is ultimately the reason that Andrew and the nearly 3,000 other competitors take part in the Transplant Games.
Andrew said: “That’s why I am part of it and so many others are part of it really is about being a voice for organ donation .”
Andrew will next take part in the British Transplant Games, again in table tennis, and hopes that others may follow in the footsteps of his donor and give the ultimate gift.