A brave Luton businessman who battled kidney failure is determined to encourage organ donation after he won a gold medal at the World Transplant Winter Games.
Dino Maroudias, 52, travelled to Anzère, Switzerland, to represent Team GB in the curling and snow shoe walking, his fellow team mates and competitors from around the world all being transplant survivors.
Dino said: “We won a gold medal in the curling! It was tense; we played the Americans, the Norwegians, and played Germany in the final. We won six nil!
“You can get a bit emotional, because you are alive and proud to be representing GB.”
The businessman was diagnosed with diabetes aged 18 and in 2007 he had a transplant after being diagnosed with organ failure in 2006.
Dino’s brother Andy made a life-saving kidney donation, and courageous Dino also had a pancreas transplant in 2012 to try and cure his diabetes.
However, the operation was not as successful as hoped and he is now on the waiting list for another.
Dino said: “The people at the games are a sort of second family - I have so many as friends on Facebook. We’ve all got this bond; we’ve all been through hell.
“It’s sad as well because at any time on a monthly basis one of these friends die - they can be young, old, middle aged. In the UK, on average three people die waiting for an organ every day.
“There are people now taking tablets, going for dialysis - I met a little boy called Isaac who had a transplant when he was two.
“If you would be prepared to accept an organ if you needed it, please be willing to donate. We have the technology and the NHS is fabulous.”
Dino has support from his wife Justine, 47, and children, Christina, 25, Alexia, 22, Louca, 14, and Zak 11, and plans to attend the European Games in Sardinia this June.
To register for donation: www.organdonation.nhs.uk