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A Dad who received a life saving kidney transplant from his sister now dedicates his time to taking on running events in support of organ donation after the operation gave him a new lease of life.

Alan Stewart, from Peebles, was diagnosed with kidney failure eight years ago and told that his only option was to be put on the transplant waiting list.

He was diagnosed with IgA Nephropathy, a condition which damages the kidney and left him feeling constantly exhausted.

His condition was so severe that his kidneys no longer worked well enough to keep him healthy and they began to decline into failure.

Alan worked as a teacher at Peebles High School and had to undergo daily dialyses during breaks in order to keep his kidneys functioning properly.

He was told his only option would be to undergo a kidney transplant with a suitable match.

Alan's sister Kathleen selflessly volunteered to get tested for the transplant and came back a match. In 2009, Alan underwent the operation at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital where he received the gift of life from his sister.

Since the transplant, Alan has seen his life transformed and decided to take up running, something which he loved before he became ill.

He also decided to become and ambassador for organ donation and now takes part in running events to raise awareness about joining the register.

His next challenge will be the Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh Winter Run on Saturday 13 January, where he will run the 5k event with a group of transplant ambassadors.

Alan, 54, said: “I was given the news that I had kidney failure and it was something that really shocked me. I was constantly exhausted, I couldn't keep awake and my joints began to swell.

“I felt drowsy a lot of the time and looking back I had all the symptoms of kidney problems but I never expected to be told something like that.

“I had to go through dialysis on a daily basis and I didn't have a good quality of life. That's when the doctors told me that I needed to be placed on the transplant waiting list.

“Kathleen selflessly volunteered to get tested and it transpired that she was a match. I will always be grateful to have someone like her in my life.

“All of the pain and tiredness I felt completely disappeared following the operation. I woke up feeling like a different person.

“I had so much more energy and felt completely alive. I was able to get back into exercise, which I had completely given up hope on during my illness.

“I started running again and although I found it really hard and started off very slowly, I gradually got better and got back into it.

“It felt amazing because I never thought I would be able to run again. I also saw this as an opportunity to restart something I once loved and wasn't able to continue due to my health."

Alan will join 3,000 others who will take on the Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh Winter Run to kick start their New Year.

The 5k route features a scenic tour of Edinburgh's Holyrood Park, starting and finishing next to Holyrood Palace.

Participants travel up and around the famous Arthur's Seat and pass Dunsapie Loch before heading downhill, returning into the royal park.

Alan, who is a dad-of-two, will take on the 5k run to raise awareness about organ donation and will be joined by a team of friends who he connected with when recovering from his surgery.

The team, known as the Transplant Ambassadors Team, meet up to take part in sports events to raise the profile and importance of organ donation.

Alan said: “When I was younger, before my kidney problems began to develop I used to absolutely love running and swimming.

“Thanks to my sister's gift of life, I am able to take part in this again and I cannot believe the difference that it has made to me both physically and mentally.

“I want to give something back and thought that I could raise awareness by taking part in running events while doing something that I love.

“As part of the Transplant Ambassadors Team we always meet up to take on running events so the 5k seemed like an achievable distance and it's great to start the New Year as we all mean to go on!”

To enter the Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh Winter Run, visit: