Evelina patient to carry the Olympic Torch

Monday 16 July 2012

Close-up of the Olympic Torch with out of focus Olympic rings in the background

Although many of us have witnessed the torch’s journey, few will have the chance to carry it.

James Kirby, a renal patient who has a long association with us, will be running with the torch through Lewes in East Sussex tomorrow, Tuesday 17 July.

18 year old James was born with chronic renal failure, meaning he had to be fed and medicated through tubes. In 2001, he received a kidney donation from his mum, which hugely improved his quality of life.

In 2007, sporting enthusiast James competed in five wide-ranging events at the World Transplant Games, winning gold in both badminton and table tennis and two silver medals.

Unfortunately, three years later his donated kidney also failed and he required another complete transplant. After recovering, James soon began volunteering as a coaching assistant; each weekend he helps coach young people in tennis. In May this year, he achieved his level one LTA qualification and now works as a coaching assistant.

One of James’ school teachers nominated him for the role of torchbearer,

“James is a remarkable young man who has accepted the hand life dealt him with enormous determination, strength of character and cheerfulness. Many of us could so easily have given up but James has always striven to make the most of every opportunity and to simply get on with his life.”

James will continue his treatment at Guy's and St Thomas' as an adult. He had only kind words for the staff and support teams at Evelina:

“They work really well as a team. One of the best things they did for me was to ask a patient who’d already had a transplant to talk it through with me beforehand. It made me feel so much calmer about the whole thing.” 

Although James competes in and coaches tennis, he also loves football and has a ticket to the London 2012 final! Who does he think will win? “Britain, I hope!”

We wish James all the best and will be looking out for him tomorrow!

Last updated: July 2012

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