'Work hard, play hard' was successful businessman Richard Aylett's favourite saying but little did he know that his lifestyle was, in fact, killing him. Years of post-work trips to the pub, drinking at home during the week, and even more at weekends, finally took its toll and Richard's liver was paying the ultimate price.
Richard says, "I didn't think anything of it, I loved a drink but didn't think it was affecting my health that much. I had been told to cut down and even stop, but I didn't listen to people I thought I'd be fine."
But Richard was far from fine, after a number of warnings from doctors, Richard's health took a turn for the worse and he was referred to Whiston Hospital. He was placed under the care of Consultant Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist Dr Mark Fox who, after a number of consultations and investigations, told him that he needed a liver transplant.
Richard joined the transplant list in January 2013 and in the coming months his health quickly declined, when the call for his transplant came in July 2013 he was in Whiston Hospital critically ill.
On 3rd July 2013, Richard travelled to Leeds by ambulance and underwent a day he describes as the 'darkest day of my life, my own mortality came home'.
Richard's transplant was successful and he recovered well. Within 18 months he had returned to almost full health and gained weight, too much weight, a common result after transplant due to the medication and lifestyle changes that patient experience.
During a check-up with Dr Mark Fox, it was suggested that Richard lose weight and perhaps start to do some exercise. Dr Fox is a keen runner and said he was doing the Manchester 10k the following May and suggested Richard sign up too.
Richard says, "It was the challenge I needed and I thought why not, Dr Fox supported me all the way, through treatment and beyond. He gave me the catalyst to move on."
In May 2016, they both completed the 10k run!
Since then Richard has simply kept on running. He's now lost two and a half stone by running and changing his lifestyle. He has completed 10ks in Calgary, Canada and run across the Golden Gate Bridge, San Fransico, something he never even imagined doing. He's completed a half marathon in Orlando and is hoping to run the Boston Marathon in the future. This is in conjunction with the Liver Association of America.
He says, "The incredible staff at Whiston Hospital never judged me, they supported me from day one. The staff were encouraging and hopeful at every opportunity. And you know, I look back and think there was always hope, and I sit here today because they gave me that. Dr Fox took me under his wing and went above and beyond anything I could imagine to make me better. I genuinely believe that had it not been for the NHS, the care I received, and things falling into place as they did, I wouldn't be here today. I genuinely believe that, and it came from all of the staff at Whiston Hospital. The care I received made me feel less anxious, made me feel that I belonged".