DCSIMG

Richard is medal winner

Richard Caulkin from Airedale, Castleford.
Multi medal winner at the Transplant Games 2014 - Richard had a double lung transplant during 2009.
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Richard Caulkin from Airedale, Castleford. Multi medal winner at the Transplant Games 2014 - Richard had a double lung transplant during 2009. p304a433

Five years ago Richard Caulkin struggled to walk without becoming short of breath.

But the 33-year-old from Airedale is now the proud owner of bronze and silver medals from the British Transplant Games and has raised thousands of pounds for charity through fitness challenges.

Mr Caulkin, who was born with cystic fibrosis, was a healthy and active teenager who loved taking part in sport.

But while studying mineral engineering at university, the former Airedale High School and NEW College Pontefract student picked up an infection that left him struggling to breathe after even the most gentle forms of exercise.

He was placed on the lung transplant list aged just 25.

After three years of waiting and nine false calls, Mr Caulkin, who completed a PHD in chemical engineering during his wait for a donor, underwent a double lung transplant at Freeman Hospital in Newcastle.

He said: “The transplant completely changed my life. When the doctors performed the operation, I was told there had actually only been two or three weeks of life left in my lungs but now it is like I have been reborn.”

Since the transplant, Mr Caulkin, a research consultant at Leeds University, has taken part in three British Transplant Games with hundreds of other recipients.

At this year’s games he won two silver medals for archery and a 5k cycle and two bronze medals for 100m sprint and volley ball.

He also took part in the European Transplant Games in Vilnuis, Lithuania, where he was awarded a further three medals.

He said: “I love taking part in the games and it is a great way to celebrate life, thank donors and encourage more people to come forward to donate.

“I feel incredibly privileged to be well enough to take part in sport again thanks to my own double lung transplant and am proud to have achieved medals in a number of events and to be using my current fitness to raise money for charity.”

Mr Caulkin has also taken part in fundraising events since his transplant, most recently climbing Whitby’s 199 steps 21 times for cystic fibrosis and Freeman Hospital.

He will take on a 10k run in Middlesborough in aid of multiple sclerosis later this month and the Heart of York bike ride to raise money for the British Heart Foundation.

 

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