Tuesday 1st May 2012
When Alex Walker contracted a life-threatening heart condition at 18 years old, his world was turned upside down.
He had developed viral myocarditis, which causes between five and 20% of sudden deaths in young adults, and was forced to undergo a heart transplant in order to save his life.
Now, 25 years on, Alex is not only healthy, but he is competing in the UK's annual Westfield Health British Transplant Games, and taking part seven athletic events at this year's games in Medway.
A keen runner before his transplant, Alex has continued to enjoy his sport and, incredibly, has competed in the games every year since his operation in 1987.
This year, the 43-year-old will take part in the 200 metres, 400 metres, 800 metres, 1,500 metres, high jump and javelin.
Alex, who lives in Faversham, Kent, will also represent Harefield Hospital, where he had his transplant operation, in the 4 x 100 metres relay.
He said: "I was ill for a long time and it took me a long time to get over it, but I am living, breathing evidence of the value of organ donation and life after transplantation.
"Every year at the Westfield Health British Transplant Games, we see how transplants have given people like me a new lease of life as they compete in what is a really wonderful showcase event."
The Westfield Health British Transplant Games are held on behalf of the charity Transplant Sport UK (TSUK) with the aim of raising awareness of the NHS Organ Donation Register.
The 2012 games take place from August 23 to August 26, between the Olympics and Paralympics.
To join the NHS Organ Donor Register, call 0300 1232323.