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Transplant survivor Issac is now a golden champ

Isaac  had a kidney transplant when he was just 21 months old.
Isaac had a kidney transplant when he was just 21 months old.

A transplant survivor beat the odds to take home four gold medals and a trophy at the British Transplant Games this summer.

Five-year-old Isaac O’Kane, from Pontefract, beat competitors from across the country to win the awards in Birmingham last month.

Isaac was just 21 months old when he received a kidney from his mum, Michelle. He was born with chronic kidney disease, and his parents were told he would need a transplant as soon as his body could cope.

Michelle said: “Isaac spent his life as a baby very much in isolation and lived in and out of hospital. It was a battle to get him big enough to have the transplant due to his illness.

“His dad and I both put ourselves forward and said whichever one was the closest match would donate their kidney.

“People say it was brave, but really it was fortunate that I could help him.”

Now five, Isaac is a happy, active child. At the games last month, he won gold medals in the long jump, obstacle race, 25-metre sprint and sport stacking cups. He was also awarded the Pauline Andrew Memorial Trophy, which recognised him as the best competitor aged five or under.

An estimated 1,000 people from across the country take part in the games each year, supported by friends and family. The games celebrate transplant recipients and donors, like Michelle, by encouraging fitness and connecting competitors to others in similar situations.

Isaac entered the games as a member of the Leeds Children’s Transplant Team.

Ms O’Kane says the games are important for children like Isaac, who feel the effects of their transplant every day.

Like all transplant recipients, Isaac has to take daily medication to prevent his body rejecting his kidney. He must also drink at least two litres of water every day to maintain the organ’s longevity.

Ms O’Kane said: “The games is very special to us and we look forward to it for many reasons.

“Not only does it promote fitness and a healthy lifestyle for Isaac, it instils a sense of positivity in us to be part of something so important. “That’s why things like this are amazing. The real gift is being here and celebrating life.”