Richard Aylett – Liver Transplant
Richard is a patient of Dr Mark Fox, Gastroenterologist at Whiston & St Helen’s Hospital who ran the London Marathon for Guts UK April 23rd 2017
‘Work hard, play hard’ was successful businessman Richard Aylett’s favourite saying but little did he know that his lifestyle was, in fact, killing him. Years of post-work trips to the pub, drinking at home during the week and even more at weekends finally took its toll and Richard’s liver was paying the ultimate price.
Richard says, “I didn’t think anything of it, I loved a drink but didn’t think it was affecting my health that much, I had been told to cut down and even stop but I didn’t listen to people I thought I’d be fine.”
But Richard was far from fine, after a number of warnings from doctors, Richard’s health took a turn for the worse and eventually his GP delivered the life changing news, he said ‘I have to tell you that you are dying, you have liver failure and you are killing yourself.”
Richard vowed to give up alcohol there and then and was referred to Whiston Hospital and placed under the care of Consultant Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist Dr Mark Fox who, after a number of consultations and investigations, told him that he needed a liver transplant.
Richard joined the transplant list in January 2013. In the coming months his health quickly declined. When the call for his transplant came in July 2013 he was critically ill.
On 3rd July 2013 Richard travelled to Leeds by ambulance and underwent a day he describes as the ‘darkest day of my life, my own mortality came home.’
Richard’s transplant was successful and he returned to Whiston Hospital to recover under the watchful eye of Dr Mark Fox. Richard recovered well and within 18 months had returned to almost full health and gained weight, too much weight, a common result after transplant due to the medication and lifestyle changes that patients experience.
During a check up with Dr Fox it was suggested that Richard lose weight and perhaps started to do some exercise. Mark is a keen runner and said he was doing the Manchester 10k the following May and suggested Richard sign up too.
Richard says, “It was the challenge I needed and I thought why not? Mark supported me all the way, through treatment and beyond. He gave me the catalyst to move on.”
In May 2016 they both completed the 10k
Since then Richard has simply kept on running. He’s now lost two and a half stone by running and changing his lifestyle. He has completed a 10k in Calgary, Canada and ran across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, something he never even imagined doing as well as a half marathon in Orlando and hoping to run the Boston Marathon in the future.
He says, ‘Whiston made me live, Mark took me under his wing and made me better. I choose not to drink, I won’t disrespect my donor’s memory, it’s someone’s son or daughter and I won’t abuse my donor’s organ. A family made a momentous decision to donate that organ and I think of them every day, I think of them every time I get a race medal and do it for them.”
“I honour my donor’s memory every day. I give talks at schools, and clubs about managing life changing events, getting a positive out of a negative, I won’t sit back and say ‘that’s it’ it was the hardest thing that ever happened to me. I feel like I’ve never been ill. I’ve been incredibly lucky and I’m so thankful to my doctor and my donor.”