A Wigan man whose life was saved by a kidney donation from his sister is in Spain this week representing his country in the World Transplant Games.
Wigan Life Centre and Robin Park Leisure Centre member Paul Reynolds is competing in the prestigious international event in both badminton and 10-pin bowling.
The 43-year-old from Goose Green is hoping for further success in Malaga just two years after he captured a silver medal in the 10-pin bowling doubles in Argentina.
Six years ago Paul suffered kidney failure and had a life-saving transplant thanks to his eldest sister Catherine, who will be travelling to support him in Spain.
He said: “In 2011, aged 37, I was diagnosed with an immune system condition called IgA nephropathy following kidney failure. In the following March of 2012 my sister Catherine saved my life when she donated a kidney for my transplant.
“Shortly after my initial recovery period I was referred to Wigan Life Centre by my doctor as part of the rehabilitation process and I’ve been using the centre, along with Robin Park, ever since.
“In 2014 I entered my very first British Transplant Games, competing for Manchester Adults Transplant Team in Bolton where I won a gold medal in badminton doubles and a silver medal in ten pin bowling.
“A year later I was privileged enough to be selected by Great Britain for the 2015 World Transplant Games in Argentina where I won a silver medal in the 10-pin bowling doubles.
“I won more silver medals in the British games in 2015 and 2016, and now I’m hoping to win more medals for my country and my family when we travel to Malaga this June.
“I’m very nervous, but equally excited and motivated because my wife Jennifer, my two youngest children and 14 supporters will be travelling out with me, including my sister Catherine and my parents.”
Paul added: “I’ve been playing badminton at Robin Park and swimming at Wigan Life Centre for a number of years now. The facilities are excellent for training and the staff have always encouraged me to ‘give it a go’. I’ll also be competing in swimming, 100m running, 800m running and javelin later this year when the British games take place in Scotland, and I’d like to thank Stephen Dixon for all of his help in getting me the opportunity to train on the track at Robin Park.”
With the Transplant Games aiming to add over 10,000 new signatures to the organ donor register, Paul said: “My sister Catherine saved my life, without her donating her kidney I wouldn’t be here or be on this journey, so I hope through the World and British Transplant Games I can help to raise awareness and encourage people to sign the organ donation register.”