WITH a big smile on his face as he clutches his medals, Matthew Nolan’s kidney transplant seems like a distant memory.
The inspirational 12-year-old competed in the British Transplant Games and he and his team, the Organators, won a total of 11 medals.
Matthew, from Fareham, was born with chronic renal failure and was on the kidney donor list for 18 months before he had a transplant at Southampton General Hospital in 2013.
But he did not let the surgery hold him back from enjoying the four days of the games.
He said: ‘I had such a great time at this year’s games.
‘It was a bit full-on but I loved every minute.
I had such a great time at this year’s transplant games.Matthew Nolan
‘Next year I want gold in the swimming and am going to train really hard.’
Matthew and his team, made up of eight children aged five to 15, competed against 600 others in different sports and activities at the games in Newcastle last month.
Last year the team, who have all received treatment at Southampton General Hospital, won two medals. So they were delighted to improve on their medal haul, bringing in 11 for sports including badminton, cricket, tug-of-war and cup stacking.
Matthew’s mother, Sonja, said she was over the moon that he took part in the games.
‘The games were really fantastic,’ she said.
‘Matthew did really well and I am very proud.’
Not only did Matthew excel at the sports, the family had to pull out all the stops to help raise the £12,000 needed for the team to head to Newcastle and pay for travel and accommodation.
They held a fundraising pub quiz and a movie night and many friends raised money in different ways
Sonja added: ‘We are already thinking of fundraising ideas for the games next year in Liverpool.
‘We would like to thank the public for all their generous donations and help with fundraising.’
The Transplant Games see hundreds of children like Matthew with transplants from all over Britain gather to compete in sports and activities, with around 1,000 people watching from the sidelines.