After Simon Elmore’s kidney failed, he slipped into a deep and destructive depression. Unable to accept a life on dialysis, he drank excessively, ignored everybody’s advice, and wasted days in his dressing gown at home.
But after receiving a kidney in January, everything changed for Simon. He ditched the booze, started exercising, followed doctor’s orders, ate well, and dedicated himself to helping others.
“I didn’t handle my situation well at first, and I regret that,” said Simon, 40, of Overstone Close, Belper.
“That’s why I wanted to show people – either on dialysis or after a transplant – that there is always hope. You can be, and do, what you thought was never again possible,”
The dad-of-three daughters also dedicated time to achieving sporting success once again.
Simon, who lives with wife Amanda and stepson Oliver, added: “After the operation, I said to myself ‘I owe it to my donor to make the most of the kidney they gave me’. So I changed my ways overnight. I know that amazing person will be looking down on me, and I am determined to make them happy.”
The hard work is definitely paying off too.
After learning table tennis in April, Simon scooped two silver medals at the Transplant Sport Racket Event, in Widnes, the following month.
Later this month, Simon will be competing in six events – 10 pin bowling, archery, table tennis, lawn bowls, cricket ball throw, and relay – at the British National Transplant Games, in Newcastle.
The rules stipulate that participants cannot compete until six months after their transplant. On July 30, when the games start, it will be six months and eight days since Simon’s transplant.
He said: “I’m determined to win at least one gold medal at the games, and with my commitment and passion, I’m pretty confident that I’ll win some medals.”
If Simon achieves gold, he will earn a place at the World Transplant Games, in Argentina, starting on August 22 – exactly seven months after his transplant. However, the most important thing to Simon is helping others – and their families – with the group Voluntary Independent Renal Support (VIRS).
He said: “I want to raise awareness about the importance of organ donation with all this. It really does change people’s lives – gives them a new life. You don’t have to be dead to donate a kidney. You can also be a part of and see the effect this has in your lifetime.”
Simon said he would like to thank the following for donating to VIRS: Mr Wint, also his step-dad, of Dale Accountancy Service Ltd; Andy, of Specsavers, in Belper; CVS Ripley; Futures Homescape; Belper Nursing Cup; and Sam Moss from the Masons, Belper.
He added: “I’d like to say a special thanks to Ken Hagger, of South Normanton. His wife sadly had kidney disease and passed away, so has donated in memory of her.”
To find out more about VIRS visit: http://virs.co.uk/.
To learn more about Simon’s story, visit: http://www.britishtransplantgames.co.uk/case-study-simon-elmore.