Spalding archer Sam Newton (33) has more reason than most to approach next week’s British Transplant Games in Bolton as if his life depended on it.
Newton is a member of Silver Spoon Bowmen Archery Club in Spalding, founded by his late father David Newton in 1975 as part of the British Sugar Sports and Social Club.
In July 2013, Newton woke up one morning feeling ill and was rushed to Pilgrim Hospital, Boston, where all the signs were that he would be back home in Spalding the same evening.
“I became seriously ill and was transferred to Leicester General Hospital where I had a tube fitted which went from a cavity in my body and out of my stomach,” Newton said.
“Every night, I had up to nine litres of liquid pumped into my body which drew out the toxins, replacing the job that my kidney should do.
“If I hadn’t have had it, I would have died through poisoning.”
Despite being diagnosed as a type one diabetic at the age of three, Newton was exposed to the sport of archery through his parents, David and Susan, so that by the age of four, their son was competing in club competitions.
Newton said: “Like a lot of young people, I started the sport, stopped and tried another sport.
“But I always came back to archery and I did local club shoots until the age of 11 when I suffered a shoulder injury.
“It was partly dislocated and I physically couldn’t move it, so I had to have a year out.
“A specialist told me to stop shooting but I wasn’t prepared to give up what was my life, so I took up a different type of bow called a compound and stuck with it up until about three years ago.”
The success then started to come for Newton with two national indoor titles, top three finishes in a number of other competitions and a call-up to shoot for Great Britain at a European archery festival in 1999.
“I had a European ranking of eight and a national ranking of 11 at senior level, although I was still classed as a junior,” Newton said.
“But in the summer of 2013, I was told I had to go onto a dialysis machine and after the operation in Leicester, I went to an indoor archery championships in December where I was up against some of the world’s best archers.
“I took my dialysis machine with me and after allowing enough time to connect myself to it, I came 59th out of 253 archers in the recurve category.”
Newton qualified to compete in the British Transplant Games after having a simultaneous kidney and pancreas operation to treat his type one diabetes at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, in February 2014.
“I can’t imagine my life without archery and if it wasn’t for Addenbrooke’s Hospital, I wouldn’t be alive today,” Newton said.
“Having a new kidney and pancreas has given me a second chance and I can’t praise Addenbrooke’s Hospital highly enough.
“Unfortunately, it’s taken somebody else’s death to give me the chance to look at competitive archery again.
“But after having to go back to Addenbrooke’s Hospital for tests twice a week, now it’s only every six months.
“There are no words that I can use to thank Addenbrooke’s Hospital for what the staff there have done for me, so if I can contribute to them winning the British Transplant Games, it would be a really small step on the road to thanking them for what they have done for me.”
Addenbrooke’s will be one of at least 60 teams taking part in the Games at Bolton Wanderers Football Club from August 7 to 10.
Archery will be one of almost 15 sports to be staged in Bolton by competitors representing hospitals, including Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Liverpool, London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital and Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
Newton said: “I’m going there to win, not to come second, and having looked at the scores that were put up last year, I think my best will be good enough for gold.”