Shirebrook bowling star picks up gold at World Transplant Games after three kidney transplants

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Despite having 30 operations since she was 12 years old, including receiving three different kidneys, Shirebrook star Diana Reddy is proof there is sporting courage in the transplant community.

Diana, aged 36, was born with a bladder reflux, causing her to have a kidney operation at a very young age.

And after two unsuccessful kidneys, one which lasted only a few days, the thought of living an active and healthy life seemed a lifetime away.

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But as she became more in touch with the transplant community, supporting other people in her situation at Nottingham’s City Hospital, she discovered the British Transplant Games - a lifeline to show her sporting prowess.

Diana Reddy at the World Transplant Games in Gateshead.Diana Reddy at the World Transplant Games in Gateshead.
Diana Reddy at the World Transplant Games in Gateshead.

Each hospital puts forward a team to compete in light sporting activities, and through her volunteering at the Nottingham site she discovered she had an unknown skill in tenpin bowling and archery.

Since she started the sport just six years ago, the Shirebrook bowler has picked up six gold and two bronze medals at a high level - including returning just last month from the World Transplant Games in Gateshead.

There she won a gold in singles and a bronze in pairs, and speaking ahead of Organ Donation Week she wants to highlight the importance of the life-saving medical procedure.

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She said: “From next spring everything is changing - so everyone is classed as an organ donor.

The bronze and gold medals Diana Reddy picked up in Gateshead.The bronze and gold medals Diana Reddy picked up in Gateshead.
The bronze and gold medals Diana Reddy picked up in Gateshead.

“I’d like to get it out there that, when the changes come, it’s so important to talk to family members about it.

“When someone dies, even though the changes come into place to make everyone a donor, the final decision still comes down to the family. So it’s important to make sure you let your family know you want to donate.

“The donations have saved me, if I didn’t have them I’d probably be dead and I definitely couldn’t do what I’m doing now.

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“They are life-changing, there are so many people at the games with incredible stories about how their lives have been turned around following their operations.”

Diana's World Transplant Games memorabilia.Diana's World Transplant Games memorabilia.
Diana's World Transplant Games memorabilia.

Diana is the face of Nottingham’s transplant advertising, and has seen her face placed on advertising boards across the county.

And through her involvement with the games, she has had the opportunity to talk to a breadth of people about their transplant tales - including from more than 60 countries at last month’s games.

Now she has her heart set on representing Great Britain in two years time when the games arrive in Houston, Texas - in which she needs to raise thousands of pounds to arrive.

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She said: “There was about 3,000 people there this year and everyone was so friendly and welcoming - it was really comforting and so lively in the camps.

Diana with Team GB at bowling.Diana with Team GB at bowling.
Diana with Team GB at bowling.

“I never even knew I enjoyed tenpin bowling before I took it up, I’d barely played it, but now I’m in Mansfield Superbowl all the time practising - and I’ve got a lot to thank them for.

“The world games return in two years in Houston and that’s where I want to be, it’s an amazing opportunity and with my scores I’m confident I’ll get there.

“I’ve got to raise a lot, but to be honest even if I can’t afford it I want to be out there supporting cheering them on.”