The meeting was started at 1030 a.m. by Chairman Richard Wright who advised of two apologies.
Under “Initial Notices” the funeral arrangements for Dennis Anderson were advised. A communication from Harrogate Forum was read to members which offered the opportunity to join them for future day visits/trips and some interest was shown from the floor.
Today’s Speaker was Mr Mark Smith, a double transplant recipient, whose talk was “Organ Donations: An Inspiring Story”. At the age of fourteen Mark’s ambition was to be a R.A.F. pilot but these aspirations were dashed when a period of ill health led to a Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis which continued throughout the next twenty five years culminating in a double transplant of his pancreas and a kidney in 2009. We heard how he persisted with his education, obtaining a degree at Bradford University where he met his wife and following a career path which saw him spend ten years at R.B.S. before being made redundant following the financial crash of 2008. He also sadly advised of the loss of his brother aged twenty one after a traffic/bicycle accident. Mark told us about the relationship with Adam Roger’s (his donor) parents, having a family (two daughters)and the charitable and personal challenges he undertook to get the most out of his life. These included climbing Mount Snowdon, hiking the Yorkshire Three Peaks, walking the length of Hadrian’s Wall and winning a bronze medal in the Transplant Games supported by his family and his donor’s parents. His fund raising efforts include a charity dinner which raised £11,000 and another £3000 from his various talks and climbs. The beneficiaries from these achievements are Kidney Care U.K., The Donor Family Network and Harrogate Dialysis Unit.
Mark’s enthusiasm and energy/vigour for life following all that has happened shone through and was certainly inspirational and well received by his audience and clearly displayed by the questions asked at the talk’s conclusion.
The Vote of Thanks on behalf of forty attendees was given by Michael Williams.
NEIL RAMSHAW SECRETARY.