Marathon runner grateful to organ donor

EIGHTEEN years ago Bridget Goldstone couldn't make it up a flight of stairs.

EIGHTEEN years ago Bridget Goldstone couldn't make it up a flight of stairs.

But today, thanks to an organ donor, she is preparing to pound the pavements in the Rome Marathon next month.

The 48-year-old from Lower Street, Sproughton, nearly lost her life in 1991 when her kidney failure deteriorated to the point where she had to be kept alive on a dialysis machine.

In desperate need of a new kidney, time was running out. But a donor was found at the 11th hour and the operation proved to be a success.

A self-confessed couch potato before the transplant, Mrs Goldstone decided to start running to negate the weight-gaining effects of her medication and has never looked back since.

After deciding to have a go competing in the British Transplant Games, she was selected to represent her country at the 1993 world event in Vancouver, Canada where she won a gold, silver and bronze medal.

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The trained sports therapist, who has competed in three marathons since the operation, has now decided to dedicate her run in Italy to her donor - a 30-year-old man tragically killed in a car crash in Glasgow.

“Before my transplant 18 years ago I could not even climb a flight of stairs,” she said. “The big thing why I am running is to pay tribute to the person whose untimely death has given me the gift of life. And I am running to say a big thank you for 18 wonderful years.”

The Ipswich Jaffa club runner is hoping a calf injury she picked up last week won't hamper her progress on the big day, where the only target she has set herself is crossing the finish line.

Mrs Goldstone will be running with her husband Barry, 56, and is just glad to be able to take part.

She wrote to her donor's family on the first anniversary of the operation and received a letter back thanking her for giving them closure by knowing their son's death had not been in vein.

Mrs Goldstone is now urging people to sign up to the national donor list and to inform their next of kin of their wishes.

She has decided on the back of her run to give a personal donation to the Addenbrookes' Kidney Patient Association (AKPA), in recognition of her treatment at the Cambridge hospital.

Anyone wishing to contribute to the association can do so by visiting their fundraising page at www.akpa.org.uk or by posting a cheque payable to AKPA to AKPA donations, FREEPOST RRKT-RBGX-AETR, PO Box 608, Cambridge CB1 OGJ.

Are you taking on a demanding challenge? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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