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Transplant patient Nicky Clifford, of Firthwood Close, Downswood wins gold medals in table tennis and power walking at World Transplant Games

By Claire McWethy

A Maidstone mum has won two gold medals in this year’s National Transplant Games, 20 years after she underwent a life-changing operation.

Nicky Clifford had to be permanently connected to dialysis equipment when she was diagnosed with renal failure in 1991.

But in 1994 she received a kidney transplant that freed her from the machines, and the crippling pain from infections associated with her treatment.

Nicky Clifford won two gold medals at the National Transplant Games

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of her life-changing operation, the 46-year-old set herself several challenges, which included signing 20 people up to the organ donor register, getting her first gold medal and contacting the family of her donor.

Nicky, of Firthwood Close, Downswood, has been competing for the past 17 years, winning several silver and bronze medals. But this year she won golds for table tennis and a 3km walk at the games, held in Bolton.

She said: “I am ecstatic. I don’t normally get a medal in table tennis.”

She credited Coxheath Running Club, which has a power-walking section, as helping her reach her goals, adding: “Their support made a big difference.”

But she has since found out that she is unlikely to ever be able to thank the loved ones of her donor.

All she knows about her donor is that he was a 35-year-old man who died in a motorbike accident. She wrote his family a thank you letter but recently discovered it never reached them, and that there are no up-to-date contact details for them.

Nicky Clifford wore dialysis tubes hidden under her wedding dress on her big day

She added: “I nearly didn’t register for the games this year as on my 20th anniversary of the transplant I had thought of doing a special event.

"Then I thought getting a gold would be good enough in memory of my donor. It seems all the more special now, as I know contact is negligible.”

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