Lewis Akrill was nine years old when he needed a kidney transplant but his determination has led to him being a World Champion
19 year old Lewis Akrill, from Caerphilly, knows about the pains of Kidney disease. When he was just nine years old, he woke up with a crippling pain in his stomach. Doubled up in pain on the floor, his mother, Tracy, suspected something was really wrong.
Lewis went to hospital for tests and was kept in overnight. It was then that it was discovered he had a condition called dysplastic kidneys; it meant his kidneys hadn’t developed properly. Without transplant, it would lead to chronic renal failure. Lewis’s mother immediately offered to be a donor. The relevant test was done straight away and fortunately she was a perfect match.
In July 2004, the transplant procedure took place and Lewis was given his mother’s kidney. Amazingly, bounding with the enthusiasm only a child can have, Lewis was back on his feet just 4 days after the transplant. “I remember being up and walking down the corridor after a few days and one of the doctor’s, jokingly said, let’s have a race and I agreed. I ran off but she soon stopped me. I wasn’t meant to be running that quickly after surgery…”
Though Lewis will need to be on immunosuppressant drugs for the rest of his life, he hasn’t let the transplant hold him back. 18 months after receiving his new kidney, he received a call from the Cardiff transplant athletics team manager, asking if Lewis wanted to get involved. He jumped at the chance. “I started training straight away and in 2010, at the British Transplant Games, I won four gold medals in the 100 and 200 metres as well as the long jump and ball throw.”
In October 2010 Lewis received the call from his country when he was selected for the British team at the 2011 World Transplant Games in Gothenburg. “Sweden was the best experience ever. I won gold in the 100m and the ball throw as well as silver in the long jump. It was just an amazing experience; I made so many new friends who have the same condition as me. Friends from Australia, New Zealand, Canada and America. It was amazing.”
Lewis was selected to go to the World Transplant Games again this year but the cost of getting to South Africa, the host country, was too much. “It would cost around £4,000 to get over there but my family wouldn’t be able to afford to come out as well, and I’m not comfortable going such a long distance by myself.”
Lewis, who aspires to work in healthcare like his mother, will turn his hand to the Cardiff 2k in September. “I’m not a long distance runner so won’t be running the 10k but me and my younger brother will be running the 2k. All my family will attend the Cardiff 10k too. We love to help out Kidney Wales whenever possible and we shall be down there at 6am, helping to set up and support the people running.”
Roy J Thomas, from Kidney Wales, said “Lewis is a fine young man who demonstrates that with determination you can succeed in what you do. His Family and all of us at Kidney Wales are proud of him.”
“I can’t encourage everyone enough to sign up to this year’s Cardiff 10k – it has become one of the cornerstones of the Foundation’s fundraising events over the past few years, and this year we are excited to welcome more runners than ever on the big day!”
The Cardiff 10k, organised by Kidney Wales, takes place on Sunday 7th September 2014. Registration has opened and you can sign-up at www.cardiff10k.com
Tel: 029 2034 3951
For more information please contact:
Kara Williams firstname.lastname@example.org
Ben James email@example.com