Transplant patients put in miles for donor week


Eight members of Addenbrooke’s Hospital’s successful transplant games team will be taking on a marathon challenge tomorrow (Friday 7 September) to mark Organ Donation Week.

The transplant recipients, who have amassed a total of 12 medals at the Transplant Games, five of which were Gold, will be hitting the treadmills at the Frank Lee Centre on the Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust site to run the cumulative number of miles they have lived since surgery.

Between them they hope to clock up 42 miles cheered on by clinical staff in the transplant department.

Organiser Sarah Moody suffered kidney failure from her early teens and received her first transplant from her mum on her 18th birthday in 1993. After three years, the kidney was rejected and she spent several years on dialysis before receiving her second kidney in 2003.

A year later she first competed as part of the Addenbrooke’s Hospital team at the British Transplant Games and has been performing ever since at the annual event. Sarah has represented Great Britain at the bi-annual World Transplant Games on four occasions in Badminton, winning a number of medals.

Sarah said: “The whole team is keen to promote organ donation during this week and we think this challenge will show how transplants can enable an active, healthy lifestyle.

“We are urging people to join the organ donation register and talk to their families about their wishes, as we need more donors to give the gift of life to people waiting for transplants.”

The challenge is due to start at 10:00am and the media are welcome to attend and interview the participants as well as staff who work in the transplant department.

Other members of the team are:

Ralph Rogers

Ralph’s kidneys failed at the end of 2016 due to polycystic kidney syndrome, a rare genetic disorder. After nearly a year on dialysis, he received a kidney from his brother in November 2017. He saw details of the British Transplant Games whilst recovering from his transplant at Addenbrooke's Hospital. He put his name down to compete in the super senior table tennis competition (age 60-69) and started training in March of this year. He had previously played in the Stamford and Rutland Table Tennis league and when younger played for the Royal Air Force. The games gave him incentive to regain his strength and fitness and he won the gold medal. He thanks medical staff and members of the Archway table tennis club in Peterborough for their help. However, he says he owes the greatest thanks to his wife and brother John, who donated one of his kidneys to give him his life back.

Colin Aspland

Colin is one of the older team members having received his liver transplant in September 1999 at Addenbrooke’s. He has been attending the British Transplant Games since 2000 and, at age 71, is now considered to be a Super Veteran! He competed in the World Transplant Games in Canada in 2005.  

Colin will be given the responsibility of counting the miles on Friday 07 September.

John Tibbutt

John had a live donor kidney transplant from his mother in 2009 after being diagnosed with kidney disease in 2002.  Since then, he has taken part in eight British Transplant Games and three World Transplant Games.  At the British games, he has won numerous medals:  the 'Best Adult Male' trophy twice and the Rose Bowl (best adult Hospital) as part of Team Addenbrooke’s twice. At the World’s, he has won ten medals in total, including five golds, all in badminton. His wife, Claudia, is a reigning mixed doubles world champion.

Val Cooper

Val’s transplant was almost eight years ago. She had a hereditary disease called, polycystic kidneys. Her mum and uncle had transplants, but her sister was OK and selflessly gave her one of her kidneys. This gave Val a new lease of life and she joined another family- the Transplant Team.

In Birmingham, she competed in Badminton, the 3km Walk, volleyball, table tennis and ten pin bowling. She managed to win a gold in the badminton and silver in the walk and volleyball.

Carolyn Donovan

Carolyn was diagnosed with Nephrotic Syndrome/FSGS at two-years-old and treated at Great Ormond Street Hospital, where clinicians managed to bring her kidney function under control. She transitioned to adult care at The Middlesex Hospital in London before transferring to Addenbrooke’s.

She went into renal failure at 30 years of age and received her kidney transplant about 18 months later, which was a living donation from her dad in January 2016.

Around six weeks later she started jogging and swimming and then started CrossFit in March 2016. She saw huge improvements in her general physical health very quickly.  Only a few months before climbing the stairs at work would leave her in tears and breathless. 

Ann Peet

Ann, 52, was born with Polycystic Kidney Disease, a degenerative condition.  With no potential live donors available, she was placed on the transplant waiting list and in October 2016, she received a kidney. 

After a long recovery she noticed an advertisement for the British Transplant Games and was inspired to take part.  She competed in the 50m breaststroke race within her age category and received a silver medal.

She said:” it was completely uplifting and a huge confidence boost, I had absolutely no idea that I had any talent at all.  I have now been selected to take part in the World Transplant Games next year in Newcastle.” 


Cambridge University Hospitals is one of the largest and best known trusts in the country. As the local hospital for our community we deliver care through Addenbrooke’s and the Rosie hospitals.

Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust