Blackpool born man to run 100 miles in a salt flats desert to aid charity

A Blackpool-born man who donated part of his liver to a woman he had never met, is taking on a gruelling 100-mile ultra-marathon to support liver patients in the UK.

Wednesday, 28th April 2021, 3:30 pm
Updated Friday, 30th April 2021, 8:30 am

Damian Delaney said the fund-raiser, part of a national drive which starts on Friday, April 30, was his own take on the UK’s Captain Tom 100 Challenge.

Damian, who now lives in California and works as an RE teacher in Los Angeles, was inspired to take part in the challenge for the British Liver Trust having been moved by the centenarian’s efforts to raise funds for the NHS last year.

Damian,60, said: “When I saw Captain Tom do what he did last year at his age it was incredibly inspiring. I feel that his example, alongside raising money for the British Liver Trust, will help motivate me to finish the one-hundred mile challenge as a live liver donor.”

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Damian Delaney who was born and raised in Blackpool, is running the gruelling Saltflats 100 ultra-marathon to raise funds for the British Liver Trust

Blackpool has one of the highest rates of cases of chronic liver disease and deaths from chronic liver disease in the UK. Between 2017 to 2019, the liver disease mortality rate for under 75s in Blackpool was 48 per 100,000 people. For comparison, the average across England is 19.

The British Liver Trust is the UK’s leading liver health charity, and is an organisation that is close to Damian’s heart. In April 2018, Damian was preparing to donate part of his liver to a friend who had cirrhosis. Just a few days before surgery, his friend was told her liver function was improving, and the operation was cancelled.

Happy for his friend but still wanting to give, Damian volunteered to go ahead with the live liver transplant as an anonymous donor. In September that year, doctors found a match and a few months later Damian donated part of his liver to a complete stranger.

Damian, who emigrated to the US with his family in 1970, said: “There’s no greater gift to give to another than the gift of life. If I could donate over again, I’d do it in a heartbeat.

Damian on the beach in Blackpool as a child

"Since my liver surgery I’ve tried to raise awareness of living donors. I want to show others that you can still lead a normal life after donating part of your liver, and that people shouldn’t be afraid to consider volunteering to do this.”

The gruelling 100 mile, 36 hour, race takes runners across the salt flats, mountain trials and mud flats of Utah, starting at the Bonneville Salt Flats Speedway where world land speed records have been set.

Audrey Cornelius, Head of Fundraising at the British Liver Trust, said: “Captain Sir Tom Moore captured the hearts of people around the world, but Damian’s own story is also incredibly inspiring. We are immensely grateful for everything he has done to fundraise for liver patients and raise awareness of organ donation.

“Sadly, more than one in ten people waiting for a liver transplant will die whilst waiting for a liver to become available or have to be removed from the waiting list because their condition has deteriorated."

For more information about the challenge, visit: Captain Tom 100 challenge - British Liver Trust.

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