Chris Cliffe going for gold at 2017 World Transplant Games in Malaga after kidney operation
A SQUASH and badminton player who had a kidney transplant as a teenager is preparing to jet off to Spain for the Olympics of transplant athletes, and is going for gold.
Athletes from around the world who have had transplants will descend on Malaga later this month for the 2017 World Transplant Games.
Among them will be Padgate resident Chris Cliffe, who will be representing Team GB in squash, badminton and paddle tennis – a cross between tennis and squash.
The 36-year-old electrician had a kidney transplant 17 years ago, with the organ donated by his mum’s best friend Cath Kennah.
Chris’ need for a new kidney was only found by chance following a routine induction exam when he went to enroll in the gym at the Village Hotel.
He said: “They took my blood pressure and it was through the roof, so they sent me straight to the doctors who sent me to the Royal Liverpool Hospital.
“When I got there they did a scan on my kidneys and they’d pretty much disintegrated – within a couple of weeks I was on dialysis and waiting for a kidney.
“All of my family were tested but none of them were compatible, but then my mum’s best friend came forward and she was compatible.
“It’s something that I can’t really thank her for enough – words aren’t enough to thank someone for giving you a kidney.”
Having played squash as a youngster inspired by his mum, Chris picked up football and rugby as a teenager but picked up the racket again after he was unable to take part in the contact sports following his transplant.
Chris picked up a silver medal in squash when he took part in the 2013 World Transplant Games in South Africa, and he is hoping to go one better this time.
While participants have to raise £1,500 to compete, Chris has received sponsorship from former Sri Lanka cricketer Muttiah Muralitharan through his company Ceylon Beverage Can.
The dad-of-two, who welcomed new-born son Brodie into the world only eight weeks ago, added: “It’s about promoting the gift of life.
“It’s good to talk to other people that have been through a similar sort of thing as myself and hear about their stories about their transplants – there are some absolutely inspirational people there.
“I went to South Africa four years ago back and it was absolutely fantastic – it was an unreal experience that I absolutely loved and I can’t wait to experience it all again in Malaga but I’m hoping to go one better this time.
“I’m feeling fitter than I’ve ever been before and in the past six months I’ve been training really hard for the games, so I’m feeling really fresh at the moment.
“I just hope I do my donor proud – live life then give life.”