Transplant twins relish life – and competing at Games

2013-08-02 00:00

AT the King’s Park Pool in Durban yesterday were three sets of twins competing at the World Transplant Games, grateful to be participating in their equivalent of the Olympic Games.

Sisters Monica Moss and Margaret Mills (64), have had kidney transplants. Monica’s kidney came from her husband Eddie, and Margaret received hers from someone deceased.

Both suffered from a polycystic kidney (cysts on the kidney), which is genetic in their family.

Margaret has two sons, Robert (33) and Kevin (31), and Robert has been diagnosed with the condition. Monica’s daughter Lindsay (31), who is here helping with massage during the games, and son Derek (33), are in the clear currently.

However, Margaret said: “The condition can be diagnosed at any time. We had our transplants quite late in life, me in 2004 and Monica in 2007.”

The twins are in South Africa for the first time and are relishing the opportunity to compete.

“So far so good, as we have gold medals in everything we have done in the pool,” said Margaret, who competed in the 50 m backstroke, 200 m freestyle and 100 m backstroke, setting a new world record in the latter for the 60 to 69 age group. Today, she heads for the athletics stadium where she will compete in discus and javelin.

Monica has done the 100 m, 400 m and 50 m freestyle, and has added javelin and shot put “just for fun”.

Patrick and Peter de Soissons (47) are also part of team Great Britain and have both had heart transplants, Patrick in April 2004 and Peter on Christmas day in the same year.

“It’s an inherited heart condition called cardiomyopathy. The symptoms are breathlessness, feeling weak, low-blood pressure and battling to eat because of fluid in the bowels and lungs,” said Patrick.

Both agree that being given a second chance in life is precious and they are grateful to their respective donors.

This is Patrick’s second time in South Africa, having been here on honeymoon in December 2001. The brothers are competing in the 100 m and 50 m breaststroke, and there is a keen rivalry between them.

Patrick has an eight-year-old daughter, Araminta, who was born after his transplant. She is currently clear of the condition, as are Patrick’s two boys, Dominic (15) and Freddie (13), although they do have check-ups every year.

Another set of twins are Argentinians Frederico and Emanuel Torres (25), both kidney transplant recipients. Yesterday was particularly emotional for Frederico because it was two years to the day he had his transplant.

“We are a special pair. I received my kidney from my mother and Emanuel from my father. We are the only recorded case in South America where a parent has donated a kidney each to a set of twins,” he said.

The brothers are competing in the 100 m, 200 m and 400 m run as well as long jump and shot put.

All three sets of twins approach life in the same manner — smiling, being positive and ready to enjoy each day, taking the good with the bad.

They said: “You only realise how precious life is when you are not sure whether you will pull through the first time.

“To be given a second chance and have the privilege of competing in these games is beyond belief. Grateful, thankful and blessed — these words are not enough to express what we feel.”

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