A cancer survivor and transplant athlete from Warwick is preparing to join Team GB for the World Transplant Games.
Simon Perkin, 54, was diagnosed with blood cancer in 1991 when he was 26 years old. After years of treatment and two bone marrow transplants Simon’s health has steadily improved.
Later this month Simon will be joining other athletes for the World Transplant Games in Gateshead.
Simon said: “I go with hope and wanting to do my best but to be honest, it’s all about recognising the real heroes who are the selfless donors and their loved ones who gave us all a second chance and the gift of life.
“I am so grateful to my German donor - I have never met him - who donated his bone marrow.
Read more: Warwick transplant athlete to take on Birmingham 10k
“Not a day goes by that I don’t feel grateful and cherish every single day because I would not have seen my son grow up and I am now fitter and healthier in my 50s than I have ever been.
“If only we could encourage more people, especially young men, to donate their stem cells and organs because sadly, 411 patients across the UK died waiting for a transplant last year.
“There are also 7,000 desperate patients and their families waiting for a call to give them hope. I never forget the uncertainty of not knowing and fear whether you will die.”
In July, Simon competed in the British Transplant Games Championships in Newport in Wales where he won three gold medals in running (5k, 1500m and 800m) and in individual golf.
Read more: Three golds for Warwick athlete at European Transplant Games
Simon has also competed in other games. He said: “I first qualified at my first British Games in 2015. I represented Team GB and NI in Malaga, Spain, in 2017 in the World Transplant Games, winning two bronze medals in 5k and 800m. I finished fourth in the 1500m.
“The competition is so fierce. One of the Argentines I am racing against this time, ran a marathon in two hours and 13 minutes in his younger days before his kidney transplant, and a Spaniard had the Spanish record for 20k of sub 60 minutes so I am up against it but will do my very best for Coventry and Warwickshire.
“We all pay for our own kit, travel, training - everything. And we are supported by wonderful volunteers every year, including a team of sports therapists from Coventry University. Next summer, the British Games are being held in Coventry.”
Read more: Warwick man’s plea for more organ donors as he heads to World Transplant Games
Simon will be entering the 5k, 1500m, 800m and golf (individual and pairs) categories at the World Transplant Games in Gateshead from August 17 to August 23, where 60 countries will be taking part.
As well as taking part in transplant games, Simon has also created his own nutrition business.
Read more: Warwick transplant athlete to host event to inspire a healthy community
Simon said: “I run my own mentor and nutrition business and I am very grateful to the local community for supporting me. I also actively promote blood, stem cell, organ donation and health and wellbeing. I have also spoken at the Annual Living Well With Cancer Conference and many other national and local events.”
To learn more about Simon’s story click here