World Club Basketball Tournament helps to raise awareness of kidney disease
Basketball players from around the world descended on Hastings last weekend to take part in the World Club Basketball Tournament. Brought together by event organiser and kidney transplant recipient Eric Douglin, the tournament was an opportunity to raise awareness of kidney disease and the importance of organ donation.
Eric's kidney diagnosis
Eric was diagnosed with sclerosis of the kidney back in 2004 and, despite efforts to prevent him from falling into kidney failure, he was told that he would need a kidney transplant.
With his condition being congenital (inherited), none of his four children were able to donate. But his partner was found to be a match and in January 2010, Eric was gifted a healthy kidney.
Eric said: “When I asked Mandi why she wanted to donate one of her kidneys to me her response was… ‘Well, anyone would do it, wouldn’t they? I have two kidneys; you need one so it’s an easy decision. Your children and grandchildren need you in their life as do I.’ As a result of my transplant I decided to raise awareness of the need for more organ donors in the UK, and fundraise for a kidney charity, through the sport that I have loved all my life.”
Combining basketball with charity work
Five years after the operation Eric decided to combine his passion for basketball with a charity that looks to help kidney patients like him.
The tournament began back in 2015 and Eric uses it to raise awareness among people who are unaware of the devastating effects of kidney disease.
“I have always enjoyed sport, especially basketball as I run my own club – the Bexhill Giants – so I decided to use this as a vehicle to engage people, sharing mine and Mandi’s stories from a donor and recipient perspective,” Eric continued. “When I first launched the tournament, I didn’t think that just seven years on it would be seen as the UK’s number one international basketball tournament.”
Falling within Organ Donation Week, Eric has used his own story to help participants to understand how life-changing a transplant can be.
Giving something back
Eric is currently a Kidney Research UK ambassador and has committed to continuing the tournament to support his passion for basketball and charity.
“This is my way of giving something back to the kidney community, showing that even though I have had a kidney transplant, which requires me to take immunosuppressant medication for the rest of my life, I am leading a normal and productive life,” Eric concluded. “The event has not only enabled me to raise awareness on kidney related illnesses but provided opportunities for some of the players to be scouted and obtain professional contracts in various countries, as well as coaches, teams and organisations building their networks internationally. This is an indication that the gift of life transplant has not only impacted my life, but many others indirectly over the last 14 years.”
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