A teenage Woodhall Spa swimmer has returned home with a sensational seven gold medals and five tournament records from the World Transplant Games in Argentina.
Named the Outstanding Junior Male of the 20th World Transplant Games in Mar del Plata, Declan Bennett won gold in the 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle, 50m butterfly and 50m breaststroke, as well as in the 4x50m medley relay and 4x50m freestyle relay.
Declan said: “The World Transplant Games granted me all I could have possibly wished for and more. To say I am over the moon is not enough. My aim going into these World Games was to medal in at least one event, so what I achieved was completely unexpected.”
Sixteen-year-old Declan received a living donor kidney transplant from his father, Guy, in 2009. The youngster is sponsored by The Elite Fish and Chip Company, which has restaurants and takeaway outlets in Lincoln, Sleaford and Ruskington, and who were helping to raise awareness of organ donation throughout National Transplant Week last week.
Rachel Tweedale, manager of Sleaford’s The Elite Fish and Chip Company, said: “Huge congratulations go to Declan on his outstanding effort and amazing achievement. We’re proud to sponsor Declan.
“We hope that Declan’s success will inspire people to consider donating their organs.”
This year’s National Transplant Week campaign was called ‘7 Days to Say I Do’, and was designed to encourage individuals to discuss their decision about organ donation with those closest to them.
When Declan was aged seven it was discovered that he had chronic renal failure caused by the presence of posterior urethral valves. The donated kidney from his father enabled Declan to work towards a healthy lifestyle and return to the many sporting activities he enjoyed prior to surgery.
His father Guy said: “Transplantation is a treatment and not a cure, so at some point in the future Declan will require another transplant or maybe several more. This may come from a relative, an altruistic donor or from a donor who has died.”
Declan, who attends Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School in Horncastle, had travelled to Argentina in fine form having claimed five individual swim gold medals and track relay silver and bronze at the British Transplant Games at the beginning of August.
For more information about organ donation and National Transplant Week, go to www.organdonation.nhs.uk or follow on Twitter @NHSOrganDonor
For more information about the World Transplant Games, go to www.wtgf.org