PETER Fraizer never imagined the track his life would take after having a kidney transplant.
Nearly 40 years on, the 65 year-old Warwick resident has written his story – Almost an Athlete – the Incredible Achievements of a British Transplant Runner – in the hope of inspiring others who have, or who are, undergoing dialysis or a transplant.
Born in Solihull in 1950, he embarked on a career in the police force as a healthy 20 year-old when he noticed unusual swelling in his ankles.
It eventually led to a diagnosis of kidney failure, eight years of dialysis and eventually a kidney transplant in 1978.
While in recovery the newly launched Transplant Games came to Peter’s attention, and keen to rediscover his love of sport, he entered in 1979 – and to his surprise won the five-mile competitive walk.
It began a post-op athletics career which saw him go on to compete six times for Great Britain in the World Transplant Games – picking up eight medals in middle distance running events, including two golds.
And in 1982, at the second London Marathon, Peter became the first transplant patient to ever take part in the event.
He writes about hitting the proverbial wall while struggling along The Mall towards Buckingham Palace when he saw his sister and friends who captured the photo which appears on the front of the book. The sight of his family drove him on to the finish line.
Another running milestone – albeit a less energetic one – came in 2012 after his daughter-in-law Louise nominated Peter as an Olympic torchbearer. His leg of the relay in Leamington saw him carry the flame from Spencer Street to the Town Hall.
In 1985 Peter married Gill who had been widowed the previous year. The two had known each other for many years as Gill’s late husband attended the same Kidney Patients Association as Peter, and in 2008 they moved to Warwick.
Peter decided to write the book after he retired as a purchasing officer for Aston Martin in Gaydon in 2013, in the hope of encouraging others diagnosed with kidney disease to make the most of life.
Peter told the Observer: “I want people to realise there is life after dialysis or transplant and that you’re not restricted in what you can achieve. I started jogging to keep myself healthy and that just led to all these incredible opportunities.
“I also want people to be more aware of the donor scheme and sign up to it – you could save someone’s life by donating a kidney.”
Almost an Athlete – The Incredible Achievements of a British Transplant Runner is available from Waterstones and Amazon.
Visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk for more information about organ donation.