'My dad gave me his kidney. Now I need somebody to donate another one for my girlfriend'
A young man who became a sporting gold medallist after being given a kidney by his father is appealing for another lifesaving donation - this time for his girlfriend.
Steve Venis spent hours every day on dialysis before dad Peter donated his kidney to be transplanted into his sons’s pelvis seven years ago.
The Downhead Park pair both bounced back within days, and just months later Steve discovered a teenage passion - for sport.
“I’d never been well enough for sport before. I even had to be home schooled because of the risk of catching infection from other kids.. I didn’t even have the strength to walk, let alone run,” he said.
“But four months after the transplant I went to uni. And it was there that I started playing football and loving sport.”
By 2013 Steve was talented enough to take part in the British Transplant Games, where he scooped a bronze medal.
Since then the 27-year-old has represented Britain every year in badminton, football, javelin and archery. He’s also qualified for two World Transplant Games and has a shelf full of medals.
He jokingly attributes his success to the fact that he has THREE kidneys.
“The doctors left my own kidneys in place and transplanted dad’s one lower down, in the pelvic area. So I always say I’m the proud owner of three kidneys!” he said.
This year, with a British gold, silver and bronze under his belt, Steve has set himself an even more difficult target - to find a donor kidney for his 23-year-old girlfriend Hannah Whitlock.
The pair have been going steady since they met at a transplant patients’ function a year ago.
“Hannah needs dialysis three times a week. She’s on the transplant list but she has a rare blood group so I’m aiming to persuade people to sign up as donors,” said Steve.
He is urging people to sign up as donors on the NHS website www.organdonation.nhs.uk