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Winning medals and winning at life: Meet transplant recipient Kian Shah-Ackroyd

THE WOODLANDS, Texas -- Lots of kids spend their summer at various camps and workshops, mingling with others who have shared interests.

Kian Shah-Ackroyd is no different – although his choice of activity is unique.

The 12-year-old Woodlands resident spent a week in Malaga, Spain at the 2017 Summer World Transplant Games.

Kian, a liver transplant recipient, brought home four medals: a gold, two silvers and a bronze in swimming, long jump and 100-meter sprint.

Every two years, 1500 athletes from 69 different countries come together for the Summer World Transplant Games with one thing in common – they are all transplant recipients.

"When he's with all those other kids, in his little tribe, he gets into a zone and becomes very focused," said Nishma Shah, Kian's mother. "They all get each other."

Kian received five medals at the 2015 Summer World Transplant Games in Mar del Plata, Argentina.

Rough beginnings

Shortly after his birth in the United Kingdom, Kian wasn't putting on weight and seemed to fuss more than usual for a newborn.

"I kept mentioning it to the nurse during home visits, and when he was 4-weeks, they realized something was wrong," Nishma said. "He was sent to hospital immediately."

Kian was diagnosed with Childhood Liver Disease, leading to an immediate operation. The operation ultimately failed, and Kian was put on the transplant list.

In January 2006, when Kian was 9-months-old, he underwent a successful liver transplant.

"He may need another transplant down the road," Nishma said, "but hopefully this one will be okay for a long, long time."

Kian said he's feeling well and is enjoying the last week of summer break before heading to McCullough Junior High School.

"I feel good," Kian said. "I have a lot of energy. I'm running around a lot with my friends in the neighborhood."

Going the distance

Organ donation saved Kian’s life, and now his family lives to spread the word and help save others.

"Organ donations are going up," Nishma said. "That's what we want to happen. Getting the word out is important to us – organ donation and transplants actually work."

As for the future, Kian plans to attend the 2019 Summer World Transplant Games in NewcastleGateshead in the UK, where he hopes to add the high jump to his list of athletic feats.

And when he grows up? "I want to be a neurosurgeon," Kian said. "I'm very interested in science and medical things."

For more information about the World Transplant Games, visit www.wtgf.org.

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