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Appleton Thorn dad ready for Transplant Games
10:20am Monday 11th March 2013 in News
AN Appleton Thorn dad who received part of a new liver a decade ago is now looking forward to heading to South Africa to lead Britain’s athletes at this year’s World Transplant Games.
Gerald Brown, aged 53, has been chosen as the athletics captain for the UK team which will be competing in Durban between July 28 and August 4.
The married father of two, who underwent a liver transplant at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital in 2002, will be competing in the 5km, 1500m and 800m races as well as the time trail and road cycle races at this year’s games.
The keen sportsman needed a transplant after being diagnosed with a liver disease known as primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) which leads to the body poisoning the liver.
Gerald added: “I started getting ill around 1992 and it was a downward trend from there.
“I went on the transplant list in January 2002 and, after just a couple of months, I was lucky enough to find a donor.
“It was a split liver between a boy in Birmingham Children’s Hospital, so he had a third and I had the other two-thirds.
“Until I started getting ill I didn’t do very much sport apart from playing football in my 20s but I thought I needed to be as fit as possible in preparation for the transplant, to try to get myself as well as I could.”
Gerald, who works as a programme director in the air transport industry, was running his first half marathon within a year of the operation and initially represented Birmingham in the British Transplant Games.
He has since gone on to represent Britain at the World Transplant Games in Canada in 2005, where he took a bronze in squash, Thailand in 2007, where he picked up gold in squash and a bronze in the 1500m, and Australia in 2009, where his medal haul consisted of a gold in the 800m, and silvers in the 1500m, 5km, and squash.
He said: “The chance for someone like me to represent your country on a world stage was too good an opportunity to miss.
“I never thought something like this would happen to me.”