Hospital staff at Leeds Teaching Hospitals laid on a dream day out for teen kidney transplant patient Akash Suryavansi - and the youngster was left bowled over by the experience!
Cricket fan Akash, whose mother and father each donated a kidney to save their son’s life, met England bowling legend Monty Panesar on a trip organised by a team at the hospital.
Akash was a special guest at an event at Luton Town & Indians Cricket Club.
As well as their shared interests in the sport, the two talked about raising awareness of organ donation, especially among cricket fans and in Asian communities.
Currently, there is a higher than average demand for donor organs for Asian patients while organ donations from within Asian communities are lower than average.
Akash said: “I’m really grateful to the hospital team for making this happen.
“It was amazing to meet Monty in person. He’s one of my cricketing heroes. It’s great that he wants to help raise awareness of organ donation. That makes him even more a hero for me.”
Monty said: “Akash is a really special lad and It’s Akash and his family who are the real heroes. I’m happy Akash had a good day.
“He’s a really special lad and I hope his story makes people in the Asian community think hard about how they can help people like him. It couldn’t be easier - just sign up to the organ donor register.”
As previously reported in the YEP, Akash, from Harehills, was born with polycystic kidney disease and after years of dialysis and a transplant from his mother Tina in his youth, his donated organ began to fail.
Doctors eventually gave the teen’s dad Aky the go-ahead to donate one of his kidneys and after a difficult period - and the use of specialist drugs to suppress the immune system - he weathered the storm/
The family have been major supporters of the YEP-backed Be A Hero campaign, led by LTH, which saw around 27,000 people sign the NHS Organ Donor Register in its first three months.
More people than ever before across the UK donated their organs after their deaths last year, according to the Organ Donation and Transplantation Activity Report 2015/16.
In 2015/16, 1,364 people became organ donors when they died and their donations resulted in 3,519 transplants taking place.
But the UK still has one of the lowest rates of consent (authorisation in Scotland) in Europe
Read more about organ donation and become a donor via www.organdonation.nhs.uk/.