A GOLD medal-winning transplant athlete is urging people in Bolton to Sign Up To Save Lives — our campaign to get at least 5,000 local people to become registered organ donors.

Claire Hopkins — a kidney transplant survivor — will compete at this summer’s Westfield Health British Transplant Games in Bolton and says it is vital people continue to sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register.

Even though Ms Hopkins’ first kidney transplant was successful, the organ stopped functioning after seven years and she once again found herself on the donor list.

The 37-year-old, from Ramsbottom, has now been waiting for a new kidney for eight years and travels to Rochdale Infirmary three times a week to undergo dialysis.

Yet that has not stopped her from pursuing her love of running and in 2002 she won a gold medal at the World Transplant Games in Hungary.

Now, the mum-of-one is planning to compete in the 1500m, 800m, 400m and 4 x 100m relay at this summer’s British Transplant Games in Bolton.

Ms Hopkins — who works at the Royal Oldham Hospital as a specialist midwife in the neo-natal intensive care unit — said: “I was lucky enough to receive a transplant in my twenties. Unfortunately, that organ only lasted for a short period and I’m now waiting for another transplant.”

Ms Hopkins, who lives with her partner Jon and son Dominic, aged 18, has suffered from kidney disease since she was a child.

Despite the impact on her daily life, she continues to work full-time, leads an active lifestyle and has completed the Manchester 10k.

Ms Hopkins added: “It can be difficult to find a donor, but it’s not all doom and gloom. I lead an extraordinary life and my son Dominic is very proud of me. You have to live in the moment and enjoy life to the full.”

  • The Bolton News launched its campaign to get 5,000 people to sign up to the Organ Donor Register on January 27.
  • There are more than 60 people in Bolton who rely on drugs and medical intervention to keep them alive until a suitable organ match can be found.
  • There are currently more than 67,000 people from Bolton on the register — but we want thousands more to sign up.
  • To Sign Up To Save Lives, go to the NHS organ donor register at organdonation.nhs.uk, call 0300 1232323 or text SAVE to 62323.