Ran my life’s race
My journey through kidney disease came accidentally when I was 36 years. Born and educated in Ballari, Karnataka I was working in a private company when detected with End Stage Renal Disease. But I can say proudly that I was very fortunate. My brothers, sisters and mother offered to donate their kidney to me. But, my Nephrologist considered my mother, as most suited.
So after doing dialysis for sometime, I underwent my Kidney Transplant on 11th March, 1992. And thereafter, I never had time to pause and wonder about what lightening had hit me.
Very soon after my transplant, I began hearing of many stories of kidney failures. I quickly made a conscious decision to strictly follow my doctors advise and guidance, on medicine, diet, water consumption, follow all the do’s and don’ts. As I look back at my 26 years of transplant I realise that this was possibly my best decision in life. It had helped me manage my life.
Gradually I formed friendships with people connected with kidney disease. I got introduced to founders of Kidney Patients Welfare Association formed by seven transplant recipients on 13th September 1991. Eager to help people with limited finances and needy people survive, I joined the organisation and became very active in advancing the group’s work. About 525 members got registered with the KPWA from the southern states of India.
Among the new friends, I had a friend from Novartis, who supplied the immunosuppressants, Cyclosporin. In one casual chat he mentioned about World Transplant Games (Olympics for Organ Recipients). This got me interested. I was basically a sportsman, played a lot of cricket and participated in athletic events during my schooling years. Keen to participate at the next transplant games to be held at Manchester, England, in August, 1995, I started practicing. But I had no address to contact the organiser except that they were from Manchester.
Without any hesitation I wrote a letter to “The Organiser, World Transplant Games, Manchester, England “ requesting them to send the details and procedure to participate in the games. By a stroke of luck I got a reply from Dr.Mourice Slapak, the President, World Transplant Games! The details for registration came…. luck seemed to turn to ‘time-out’ as the date was too close to manage particiapation with funds and visa. So I missed it.
Meanwhile, my doctor, Dr. Siddaraj connected me with Dr. RVS Yadav from New Delhi, who was organising the All India Transplant Games in September, 1996 in New Delhi. Serious practice began and with a small team of 13 transplanted from my KPWA, we attended the game. In a twist of fate all my team members won medals, but for me. While trying to avoid a participant who fell across on my track, I broke my right ankle.
Kidney disease made me tough. I did’nt give up. I wanted to participate in next World Transplants Games held at Sydney, Australia, in 1997.
With guidance from Dr. Sankaran Sundar, I contacted a medal winner in Asian games, Mr.Sunil Abraham and Mr. V.R Beedu, a well known coach to coach me. Under their special care I got fined tuned me to enable me to compete with regular sportsmen.
I got trained for 100mtrs and 400 mtrs, with long jump as additional event. Finding a sponsor became the next hurdle. But with some effort and friends help I got connected to Mr Syed Kirmani, the national cricketer, who helped me in getting State Bank of India’s sponsorship.
A five member contingent along with Dr. RVS Yadav and Dr. PK Sarin, travelled to Sydney to participate in the XI World Transplant Games.
I lost in first heat/round participation in 100 mts., and long jump, but I felt consoled that my performance was best among other Indian players.
Then I managed to reach the finals of 400 mtrs. After 3 heats and semi final, I won 6th place with 68 seconds record. I was only the Asian to reach finals in that event. I was participated in 1500 mtrs race. But, I was the last to finish.
In September 1998, Dr.PK Sarin organised the first SAARC Games in Amritsar. Participants were from Srilanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan. I finally got the top positions! 2nd place in 100 mtrs and 1st place 400 mtrs .
We began facing financial constraints, lack of sponsors meant only Mr.Nidhi Kanth Jha, Patna and I could participate in XII World Transplant Games, held in September, 1999, in Budapest, Hungary.
I reached quarter finals of 100 mtrs and finals of 400 mtrs.
On 400 mtrs sprint I got 5th position.
Next games at Kobe, Japan I was offered free participation by the organisers, but I fell sick with septicemea. So I could not participate.
For France and Canada Games, Mr Balakumar, Coimbatore and I were ready, but we were denied visas for both the games. I took up this matter very seriously with World Transplant Games Organising Committee that participants should be arranged visas by Hosting counting Embassy.
I could not participate thereafter due to financial issues.
In the personal front, I got married to Padmavathamma, in August, 1996 and we are blessed with wonderful children.
Today the Association is managed by me along with one other surving founder member.