Dad of Leeds teenager who had three lifesaving liver transplants is raising awareness in Cycling Sportive

The dad of a Leeds teenager who has had three lifesaving liver transplants said he will be forever grateful as he prepares to take part in the first ever British Transplant Games Cycling Sportive in the city.

Saturday, 7th August 2021, 4:45 am
Updated Monday, 9th August 2021, 11:59 am

Simon Bowens, 54, of Holt Park, said his 16-year-old son Theo is only able to enjoy an active life now because three people were willing to go on donor register and their families agreed to allow their organs to be donated.

Simon a member of Otley Cycling Club, is preparing to take part in the British Transplant Games Cycling Sportive at Skelton Lake Services in Leeds this Sunday.

He said: "These operations have enabled Theo to have a very active life and enjoy his favourite sports.

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Simon Bowens pictured with son Theo and wife Rebecca . Photo: Gary Longbottom.

"Anybody considering signing the organ donor register, please do so and please let your relatives know of your wishes so that you can give the gift of life to their people."

The Cycling Sportive event organised by True Cycling, in partnership with Extra Motorway Services and of course charity Transplant Sport, seeks to raise awareness around the importance of organ donation and raise vital funds.

Theo was struck by an unknown virus which caused acute liver failure when he was a 13-month old baby.

He was close to death before his first liver transplant five-days after he was diagnosed.

Theo Bowens pictured after the 2008 liver transplant

That transplanted liver failed and he remained critically ill before an urgent second transplant was carried out two days later.

Theo suffered recurring infections and underwent a third liver transplant at three years old in October 2008.

He suffered from delays in his development and has a rare form of epilepsy - both as a result of acute liver failure.

Theo loves cycling, riding and swimming and has competed in events at the annual British Transplant Games since 2009.

Simon Bowens pictured with son Theo and wife Rebecca . Photo: Gary Longbottom.

Theo's family has fundraised to buy him a three-wheel tandem with a reclining seat at the front.

It means Theo can pedal safely and an adult can support with the steering, gears, and brakes.

Cyclists taking part in the Leeds Sportive event will have the choice of two routes of 57k or 91k.

Declan Logue, the captain of the GB Transplant Cycling Team, will also be taking part in the event.

Simon Bowens Photo: Gary Longbottom

The Transplant Games was planned to take place in Leeds this year after being postponed due to Covid, but it has been postponed for a second time.

It is now due to take place in Leeds in July 2022.

Dr Paul Harden, Chair of Trustees for Transplant Sport, said: “The British Transplant Games are a key event in the calendar each year for Transplant Sport and provide a vital platform of support for transplant recipients and donor families too.

“The Cycling Sportive is a great way people can support Transplant Sport and Games to raise further awareness of organ donation on what would have been the weekend of the British Transplant Games in Leeds. We're looking forward to tomorrow and celebrating the gift of life across the transplant community."

To join the NHS Organ Donor Register visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk or call the NHS Blood and Transplant 24-hour-a-day donor line on 0300 123 23 23.