Martin Searle is the Team Manager for the Birmingham Adult Transplant Sports Team. In his own words, read his story about his involvement in Transplant Sport, and his experiences as a transplant patient.
I have been involved with the Birmingham Adult Transplant Sport Team and the British Transplant Games since 1999, this was after I was well enough after my first kidney transplant in 1997.
It was after I was in Hallam Hospital in West Bromwich, in 1975 at the age of seven, that I was diagnosed with the same genetic, hereditary disease that some of my family members had been diagnosed as having, Alports Syndrome.
From 1975 to 1996, I lived a perfectly normal and active life, taking part in various sporting activities, challenges as well as competitive achievements along the way.
In 1996, my GP was doing an annual MOT only to find that my blood pressure was a lot higher than it should have been. This is when the Renal Doctors at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham started working me up for Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis (CAPD). This type of dialysis consists of four exchanges every day of a solution which filtrates the unwanted toxins from my blood. Each exchange takes approximately an hour including all the hygienic processes that are done prior to the exchange and after it. The, exchanges are also spread throughout the day. The fluid stays in for about four hours and when it is time for the next exchange this fluid is drained out and the next bag drained in.
All through this period of dialysis and having had my first kidney transplant, I was able to continue working full time, as a Sales Representative, even, juggle my dialysis exchanges when required throughout the day.
I have taken part in all the British Transplant Games from 1999, which was in Birmingham, right up until my first kidney transplant failed in 2011, except the British Transplant Games in 2003 which took place in North Staffordshire. I had broken my ankle at the time hence the reason for not being able to take part!
In 2011, I started CAPD for a second time and continued virtually problem-free until I had a second transplant in July 2015.
There isn’t a day that goes by without me thinking of my donors, even though I have never met the families that had to decide about donating their loved one's organs. I will be eternally grateful for their kind thoughts.
Ever since I was 18, I have enjoyed sports and have done many charity events along the way, including in 2002 when I did a 24 hour snookathon and raised over £600 for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham's Renal Department and our Team.
Since 2004, I have been helping with the Managers of the Birmingham Adult Transplant Sport Team right up until September 2018 when I was given the role myself.
Since going to the British Transplant Games, I have met some amazing people who have had transplants as well as people who haven’t but have wanted to be involved in one way or another. I have even met up with some great celebrities over the years as well.
I have seen some amazing sporting events and competitions at these prestigious Games and it is because of everything that I have seen and done that I will be committing myself to enhance the awareness of Organ Donation where I possibly can as well as promoting the need for many more people to become part of the Organ Donation process, regardless of whatever legislation is in place.
I will also enjoy my time, along with the challenges it brings in the role that I have been given by Transplant Sport as Manager of our great Team.
Without the spectacular specialists at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham it would not be possible to be able to do what I am doing now and again I would like to say a huge thank you to them.
Lastly, as you can imagine, it is the care and encouragement of my Wife and Children that give me the inspiration to carry on being positive with everything I am able to do.