Published: 00:01, 06 February 2016
It’s just one year since Ryan Brett had a kidney transplant and he is planning to celebrate his new lease of life by climbing a mountain, running a marathon and taking part in the British Transplant Games.
The 26-year-old, of Solomon Road, Rainham, was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease in 2009.
He was travelling in Cyprus with his partner Lucia Bravo when he started to feel ill. The dad-of-one said: “I started getting breathing problems and really bad headaches and I decided enough was enough and came home.
“The next day I went to the doctors and he sent me to the hospital and they started doing tests.”
The kidneys help to control blood pressure and maintain a balance of chemicals in the body which helps the heart, and other muscles work properly.
He was at a party when his friend Jude Keelan offered him one of her kidneys.
Mr Brett, who works at a bookbinding company in Lordswood, said: “I thought it was just party talk but she came round the next day and said she wanted to donate it.”
He had the transplant in March. He said: “It sounds cheesy but the transplant did give me a new lease of life. Before the operation I felt down and I wouldn’t want to go out because I was always tired.
"Since then there’s not enough hours in the day to do things. I just want to go and do stuff – there’s nothing I can’t do.
Next month he plans to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
In April, he will also be competing in the Isle of Wight challenge, a gruelling 66 mile run, and in July, he runs the 1,500m and 5km at the British Transplant Games in Liverpool.
Mr Brett said: “I want to raise as much money and awareness for kidney disease as possible, to help find a cure.
"I want to show there is life after a transplant, and to grab it with both hands.”