Dunstable teen to represent GB at World Transplant Games

Robert in his kit for the World Transplant Games
Robert in his kit for the World Transplant Games

An All Saints Academy pupil who underwent a life-saving kidney transplant eight years ago is flying to Malaga on Saturday to represent his country at the World Transplant Games.

Robert Collins, 14, will be competing in the Badminton and Table Tennis section. He has previously won medals at the British Transport Games.

Robert’s family have been raising money to meet the costs of taking part in the games, he has been supported by family, friends and members of the Dunstable and Toddington communities.

They were struggling to reach their target when they received an award of £1,000 from The Realising Dreams Foundation who wanted to help after hearing his story.

Robert said: “I am delighted to be selected to represent my country at the World Transplant Games and to prove that fitness can be achieved after such significant ill health; this has fulfilled my dream - to represent my country.

“Another of my goals is to help raise awareness of organ donation and the positive impact it can have on someone’s life. Thank you very much for supporting me.”

Born with Chronic Renal Failure Robert has had over two dozen operations, including spinal surgery, lifesaving transfusions and a kidney transplant in 2009.

Dad, Matt Collins, 50, who was ruled out to donate to his own unforeseen illness at the time, said: “Seeing your son deteriorate over a long period, and knowing you can no longer help keep your child alive was awful.

“I will be forever grateful to my best school mate Martin, and now my brother in-law, who stepped in and through ‘live donation’ gave my son the gift of life.

“The first-year post transplant was the most difficult but thanks to the support of others around him and his limitless determination Rob is flying and a proud ambassador of the benefits of sport and of course for organ donation.”

The World Transplant Games, which start on Sunday, June 25, takes place every two years, it represents the largest organ donor awareness event in the world.

Robert’s family had to raise thousands of pounds for him to compete at the games and for his family to be there to support him.

Thanks to the donation from The Realising Dreams Foundation, which aims to help young people reach and exceed their potential, Robert is able to compete at the games.

Robert added: “Part of the fund is so that my sister, Harriet, can come with me she has been at my side all through this and is my greatest supporter, I am so pleased she will be with me.”

Realising Dreams Chairman Ron Burges said: “Our foundation places a high value on giving back as well as celebrating talents that make a difference to the lives of others.

“Robert is an inspirational boy whose shown commitment to using his sporting talents to raise awareness of a cause very close to his heart. We are delighted to help him realise his dream and wish him the best of luck in Malaga.”