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Health & Fitness Dad had to get special permission for £1m treatment when body started rejecting sister's kidney

00:05  24 september  2021
00:05  24 september  2021 Source:   dailypost.co.uk

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An “inspirational” dad is set to run the London Marathon in aid of a children’s hospice charity just a year after undergoing a kidney transplant.

Rhys Owen from Bangor, Gwynedd is back on the road to fitness after his loving younger sister donated one of her kidneys to him.

The 34 year-old, who works as a financial planner for Hadlow Edwards Wealth Management Ltd in Wrexham, says he has been given a new lease of life following the operation in February 2020.

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Now, as a way of thanking sister and donor Hannah Owen, 26, he is resolved to make the most of his future.

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According to Rhys, he “hates running with a passion” but he is still determined to take on the long distance challenge.

Pictured is Rhys Owen, 34, who will be running the London marathon in aid of Hope house / Ty Gobaith © Picture Mandy Jones Pictured is Rhys Owen, 34, who will be running the London marathon in aid of Hope house / Ty Gobaith

The dad-of-three wants to prove to his children that even the greatest obstacles can be overcome with positivity and dedication.

Although Rhys' transplant operation at the Royal Liverpool Hospital went well, his initial post-op recovery period was not easy going.

He said: “My sister has a different blood type to myself and as a result my body started to reject the kidney.

"It meant I needed a highly specialist drug but we had to get special permission from the Welsh Assembly to administer the drug as it cost so much money per dose."

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After writing to the Welsh Assembly Government, Rhys was granted permission to receive four doses of the drug Eculizumab over a period of four weeks.

Each dose cost £250,000 - meaning the entire course of treatment came to £1m.

Rhys' kidney function is now up to nearly 50% overall and he says he now has a lot more energy than he can remember having before.

His sister who lives in Handbridge, Chester, and is a keen athlete herself has also fully recovered.

Rhys said: “Hannah has always been into high energy sports including triathlons and so the London Marathon seems nothing in comparison to what she does. It’s a sort of tribute to her that I am taking this on board.”

Rhys has been in training since June, going out at least three times a week and slowly building up his running distance. He has now reached 20 miles and is hoping the vibrant atmosphere of the marathon will help spur him on to complete the extra distance of a full marathon – 26.2 miles.

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He is hoping to raise at least £1,500 from the run in aid of Hope House/Tŷ Gobaith Hospice.

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Rhys added: “I thought to myself that what I have been through is nothing compared to what some of these children and their families are enduring.

“I have been given this renewed chance at life, the opportunity to regain my fitness and return to full health but for some children there is no such hope. They deserve all the support we can possibly give them even if it means pushing ourselves well out of our comfort zones.”

Cat Dowdeswell said: “What Rhys is doing for us is awe inspiring. Having braved so many challenges himself we are hugely grateful for him taking on this goal.”

Hannah Owen, Rhys Owen's sister © Hannah Owen Hannah Owen, Rhys Owen's sister

Cat said the fundraising effort was needed more than ever this year as the organisation’s charity shops had to close during national lockdowns and many group fundraising events had to be cancelled due to social distancing protocols.

She said: “If it were not for people like Rhys and our other marathon runners then we would desperately struggle to maintain these services. He is a true hero.”

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