Kyle Gray’s life has been saved three times by strangers after he caught a deadly virus from splashing in a puddle as a child.
Now his dad Kenny Gray wants to show his gratitude by completing this Sunday’s Great North Run and raising as much cash as he can for charity.
Kyle was just three when he contracted hepatitis from the water which damaged his liver so badly he needed a transplant.
The first didn’t take, and 10 days later he needed another, which lasted him until last September when he became sick and needed a third donor organ.
Kenny, 49, from Cleadon Park, South Shields, said: “We are beyond grateful to the three families who have donated organs to keep Kyle alive.
“If I had it my way everyone would be an organ donor it’s so important.
We are beyond grateful to the donor families.Kenny Gray, Kyle’s dad
“Kyle had two liver transplants within days of each other when he was three, then he’d been doing well until last September when his health deteriorated rapidly.
“His second liver lasted 23 years, which was incredible, it’s certainly one of the longest lasting in the country.
“It’s thought that the puddle Kyle splashed in when he was little may have contained rat’s urine and that’s how he caught the hepatitis, it’s just something you’d never even thing about.”
Kyle was placed on the priority list last September and was lucky enough to be matched to a donor and the operation was carried out at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital.
He’s already back at work at Arndale Engineering in Western Approach, South Shields, and next year not only does he plan to wed his fiancée Claire Peel, he’s also aiming to do the half marathon himself.
Kenny, who is married to Debra, said: “It’s Kyle’s birthday in two weeks and last September we genuinely never thought he was going to see it. His health went downhill so fast.
“But thankfully they found a donor quickly. He’s already back at work and next year he’s even said he’s going to try and do the run himself.
Kenny will be running alongside his sister Amanda Forrest, 46 and his nephew Anthony Gray, 27, for Liver North – an adult liver patient support group based at the Freeman.
Kenny said: “So far we’ve raised just shy of £1,000. We don’t have any targets, we just want to raise as much as possible and I just want to finish it.”