A Sheffield man who was born with a rare condition and has defied all the odds, is banking on transplants to save his life.
Medical miracle Ricky Moate was born with Gastroschisis – a condition where the intestines are on the outside of the abdomen.
He’s endured 66 major operations and wasn’t expected to live. A complication from one of the surgeries means he’s been left with Short Bowel Syndrome – which means there is not enough intestine to sustain his own nutritional needs.
The complexity of his condition meant a small bowel and abdominal wall transplant was near impossible but thanks to improvements in anti-rejection drugs, this is now a reality.
Ricky is fed via a line surgically inserted into a main vein in his chest. This alone ‘can be fatal’ if complications arise.
The 33-year-old from Wincobank said: “I’m not doing this to improve my quality of life – I’m doing this to save my life.
“I’ve lived with this all my life but it’s now or never for me. I’m putting myself in harms way to give myself an opportunity to survive.”
The bowel transplant, when one becomes available, will take place in Oxford and he’ll be expected to stay in hospital for many weeks.
When he gets the call, he’ll have to drop everything and head 150 miles down to motorway to get ready for the procedure.
Doctors will also make him stay in flat close by to keep tabs on his recovery – meaning even more time away from his Sheffield home.
Avid Owls fan Ricky set up a fundraising page to pay for living costs when the time comes to head to Oxford.
The flat ‘isn’t suitable’ for his disabled wife Lisa who uses an electric wheelchair. She’s keen to support him on his journey.
His fellow Wednesdayites – mainly down to club forum Owlstalk – along with complete strangers, have raised more than £5,000 to cover expenses for up to three months so Lisa will be able to stay in suitable accommodation.
“I really hated starting it up, I don’t like asking like this and I’ve really had to swallow my pride. I’m not one to ask for help but this time we have no choice,” Ricky said.
“I started off and it tailed off a bit. I asked someone if they could put something on Twitter because I’m not very good at it.
“It went on Owlstalk and it’s gone from there. I’d like to say a special thank you to Matt Spencer, who took this on from his own accord and really pushed this for me.
“I didn’t know him, I had never met him, but now we’re good friends and I can’t thank him enough.
But a bowel transplant is a bit more tricky to administer and medics have to be quick off the mark to make sure it goes smoothly.
“Bowel transplants are different because as soon as the blood stops flowing to it, it’s one of the quickest organs that starts to die.
“They can only do if the person if medically brain dead and they’re on the register.”
Ricky is also backing calls in England to change the way people are put on the donor register.
“I want to raise awareness and fully support the changes to organ donation,” he said.
“People should automatically be signed up and opt out on their own accord.
To donate, visit Ricky’s fundraising page here.