Shirebrook Student Gets Ready For The British Transplant Games
A 13-year-old Shirebrook student who was once given a 20% chance of living by doctors has spoken of his pride after he was picked to represent Nottingham at the Westfield Health British Transplant Games.
On Thursday Kian Hatton will be in North Lanarkshire, Scotland, for the start of the event, where he will compete in the bowling, archery, table tennis and throwing events.
It marks another stage in the teenager’s recovery following a kidney transplant in April last year, which itself was just the latest in a series of setbacks that Kian, who has undergone 10 operations during his life, has had to face.
Born premature at 32 weeks – his twin died in the womb at 28 weeks – Kian weighed just 2lb 15ozs and arrived in the world with a cleft lip and palette and hearing difficulties which have resulted in him wearing hearing aids to this day.
He spent his first days of life in the special-care baby unit and was kept alive thanks to a blood transplant. He finally left hospital at 12 weeks but within a year underwent his first operation to repair his cleft lip.
More operations followed as he grew older but as surgeons improved the situation for his breathing and talking, doctors discovered that he had problems with his kidneys. He missed an increasing amount of time at primary school as his condition deteriorated, and in Year Seven, shortly after transferring to secondary school, his kidneys failed.
Kian had to be hooked up to a dialysis machine at home for six days a week, meaning that he missed even more school. Then, last year, his fortunes changed when doctors contacted his family to say that they had found a donor kidney, and he underwent a transplant in April last year.
He is still a regular face at Nottingham Children’s Hospital, at Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Centre, and earlier this year staff there asked him if he was willing to represent the hospital at the Games
The event will bring together 750 athletes, all of whom have received an organ transplant, and 2,000 spectators for four days of competition. The participants, who are aged between three and 81, will take part in 23 different sporting activities including archery, athletics, golf, squash, snooker, tennis and swimming.
Kian agreed to compete and his family raised £850 – helped by a family friend, Hayley Fritchley, who took part in a 5k run – to help pay for the Nottingham group’s costs as well as make a donation to the Kinder Appeal, which is the charitable fund supporting the work of the Children’s Renal and Urology Unit, based at the Nottingham Children’s Hospital.
He is one of a 22-strong team from Nottingham and has travelled up to the Games accompanied by his mum, Kim, 33, her partner, Robert Kemp, and his one-year-old baby brother, Shay.
He said: “I am looking forward to taking part in the Games and I want to make my mum proud of me. I also have a lot of people to say thank you to.
“My best event is the throwing and so I am looking forward to that. I have been through a lot of things but I am much healthier than I was before following my transplant so it will be a good experience to take part.”
Kim said: “Kian has been through a lot in his life and so seeing him competing at the British Transplant Games will be a very proud moment for everyone.
“When his twin died, he was given a 20 per cent chance of survival but he pulled through and was born premature. We nearly lost him a few times through his life as well, when he stopped breathing during an operation at the age of one and when he was nine he picked up an infection after an operation.
“He was in the Kings Mills Hospital at the time and we were told to bring close family in to see him because they thought he wouldn’t make it, but 24 hours later he was still fighting and everyone was amazed by him.
“Kian still has to have regular check-ups and he does get down about his life a few times but he is back at school and for most of the time is like any other 13-year-old. He likes his scooter, his X-Box, drawing and reading and he’s also fantastic with his little brother.”
Mark Cottingham, principal at Shirebrook Academy, added: “We are all so proud of Kian. He has faced so many setbacks in his life but it always so positive and determined. He is a real role model for all of us and we wish him all the best for Scotland.”
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