A GOLD medal winning transplant athlete is appealing to people to sign up to the donor register.
Claire Hopkins, from Edenfield, will compete at this summer’s British Transplant Games, to be held in Bolton from August 7-14, for athletes who have undergone heart, lung, kidney, liver or bone marrow transplants.
They will battle it out in 18 sports.
The 37-year-old has been waiting for a new kidney for eight years, and travels to Rochdale Infirmary three times a week to undergo dialysis.
Claire, who works at the Royal Oldham Hospital as a specialist midwife in the neonatal intensive care unit, underwent a kidney transplant at the age of 20, but the new kidney only lasted seven years.
Claire, a keen runner, competed at the World Transplant Games in Hungary in 2002, where she won a gold medal.
She is now planning to compete in the 1500m, 800m, 400m and 4x100m relay in the forthcoming Bolton games.
But she has taken time out from training to urge more people to join the NHS organ donation register and said she hopes her participation in the games will encourage more organ donations.
Claire said: “The Transplant Games play a vital role in raising awareness of the NHS Organ Donor Register and highlight how important it is for people to sign up.
“Kidney failure affects so many people. There are thousands of people waiting for a transplant and just one donor can save so many lives.”
Claire, who lives with her partner Jon and son Dominic, 18, has suffered from kidney disease since she was a child.
Despite the impact on her daily life, she continues to work full time, leads an active lifestyle and has completed the Manchester 10k.
She said: “It can be difficult to find a donor, but it’s not all doom and gloom.
“I lead an extraordinary life and my son Dominic is very proud of me. You have to live in the moment and enjoy life to the full.”
To sign up, call 0300 123 23 23, text SAVE to 62323, or visit organdonation.nhs.uk