Damian Delaney, who donated part of his liver to a woman he had never met, is taking on a gruelling 100-mile ultramarathon in Utah, USA, to support liver patients in the UK. The ultramarathon is his own take on the UK’s Captain Tom 100 Challenge, which starts on 30th April.
Blackpool-born Damian now lives in California and was inspired to take part in the challenge for the British Liver Trust having been moved by the centenarian’s efforts to raise funds for the NHS last year.
Damian says: ‘When I saw Captain Tom do what he did last year at his age it was incredibly inspiring. I feel that his example, alongside raising money for the British Liver Trust, will help motivate me to finish the one-hundred-mile challenge as a live liver donor.’
The British Liver Trust is the UK’s leading liver health charity and an organisation close to Damian’s heart. In April 2018, Damian was preparing to donate part of his liver to a friend who had cirrhosis. Just a few days before surgery, his friend was told her liver function was improving, and the operation was cancelled.
Happy for his friend but still wanting to give, Damian volunteered to go ahead with the live liver transplant as an anonymous donor. In September that year, doctors found a match and a few months later Damian donated part of his liver to a stranger.
Damian says: ‘There’s no greater gift to give to another than the gift of life. If I could donate over again, I’d do it in a heartbeat. Since my liver surgery, I’ve tried to raise awareness of living donors. I want to show others that you can still lead a normal life after donating part of your liver and that people shouldn’t be afraid to consider volunteering to do this.’
Audrey Cornelius, head of fundraising at the British Liver Trust, says: ‘Captain Sir Tom Moore captured the hearts of people around the world, but Damian’s own story is also incredibly inspiring. We are immensely grateful for everything he has done to fundraise liver patients and raise awareness of organ donation.’
‘Sadly, more than one in ten people waiting for a liver transplant will die while waiting for a liver to become available or have to be removed from the waiting list because their condition has deteriorated. England, Scotland, and Wales now have an opt-out system for organ donation. This should hopefully increase the number of livers available to people on the waiting list, but it’s still really important to let your loved ones know your wishes to support your decision at a difficult time.’