Blackborough End’s Stewart prepares for kidney marathon challenge

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A father who saved his son’s life by donating a kidney will take to the streets of Ireland later this month to participate in the Dublin Marathon.

Stewart South, from Blackborough End, will be raising money for the Kidney Transplant Unit at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, in Cambridge, where both of his sons underwent transplants as youngsters.

Mr South, 67, wants to increase awareness about the impact organ donation can have.

He last completed the New York Marathon back in 2004 after successfully negotiating the London equivilant in 2002 and 2003.

Mr South said: “While I still feel fit enough, I have decided at the age of 67, and with one kidney, to run the marathon distance of 26 miles and 385 yards in Dublin.

“Both of my son’s transplants took place at Addenbrooke’s and I’m hoping to raise a minimum of £2,000 to help the transplant unit and anyone who needs its services.

I have been building up my training programme.

“I have had a few aches and pains, mainly to my feet, but I am confident that I shall complete the course.”

His son Joel, now 36, suffered kidney failure back in 1997, and was told by doctors he needed a transplant.

After tests, his dad Stewart was told he could donate one of his healthy kidneys, which he did in May 1999.

The following year, the family were dealt another terrible blow, when his eldest son Oliver’s kidneys also failed.

Doctors told him he would need to have dialysis within a year.

However, Oliver, 39, managed to carry on until March 2002 when he received a call from doctors to say that a donor had been found.

Mr South said donating one of his kidneys to his son was not a hard decision.

He said: “I don’t feel any worse for only having one kidney. I am still fit and well and never ever think I can’t do that because I only have one working kidney.

“We are very lucky that our sons are not on dialysis and that they are now able to lead normal lives.

“I would urge anybody and everybody to get on the register as they might be able to help somebody in the future.

“If there is a tissue match it doesn’t matter if you are not a close relative, you could just be a friend of the person and you could save their life.

“I am living proof your health isn’t impaired by it.”

Anyone willing to donate can do so by visiting Mr South’s online giving page at: www.act4addenbrookes.org.uk/supporter/StewartsMarathon