Dungannon transplant patient to take part in National Games

Martin McClusky
Martin McClusky

After fighting off the same disease that killed his father, Dungannon man Martin McClusky is using his second chance to compete in a national games tournament.

The 52-year-old, from the White City, developed polycystic kidney disease in 2009, and needed a life-saving transplant.

Over the last 11 years, his sister and two brothers have also been afflicted with the condition and all needed new organs to survive.

But the genetic disorder, which affects about 12.5 million people worldwide, could not be treated in his father’s case, and he died in 1978.

Now, Martin, who used to spend up to 12 hours-a-day hooked up to dialysis machine, is taking part in the British Transplant Games this summer - something he never thought would be possible.

“When I was on dialysis, before the transplant, I saw more of that machine than I did my own family.

“I had no social life, so this really is a second chance at life for me.

“My dad died when I was 15. Then my sister was diagnosed about 11 years ago so we were all tested.

“It turned out that me and my two brothers also had the condition and eventually we all needed transplants.”

The games take place in Gateshead, between Thursday, July 30 and August 2, 2015.

Martin will compete in three events: snooker, 10-pin bowling and five-a-side football.

“I used to be a big snooker player,” said Martin. “I’d get breaks of about 70 or 80, but that was a long time ago.”

However, when he started playing bowls after work he found he was getting scores of 270 or 280.

“That’s not bad considering the top score is 300”, said Martin.

“I’m really looking forward to the games and seeing what I can do now, but the fact that I can compete, never mind winning, is an achievement - I never thought I’d be this active again.” Martin’s transplant, which he received in 2011, has allowed him to go back to work again.