Aris Jan Van Ek

Aris Jan Van Ek – Netherlands

Age 56 | Kidney Transplant

Quote: “I also had to learn that being able to do sports is not about running a marathon or beating personal records all the time, it is all about being able to do it. Take the opportunity, see the benefits. I can show you the way.”

Aris is 1 of 5 active and competitive brothers, who all excelled in sports except for him. Aris fell ill at the age of 6 and was always too sick or too tired to join in these activities. As a result he often found himself in the pool, and this is where he found his happiness.

After his transplant in 1988 it took Aris a further 8 years to get back in the water as he was never motivated to get fit or start a sport. Only In 1995 did Aris first discover the World Transplant Games Federation and 1 year later competed in his first Games at the World Transplant Games in Sydney.

Aris has since found a new passion in running and in 2014 and 2015 completed a 1/8 triathlon. Aris has competed in 26 running events composing of either 5 or 10 Km’s. In 2015 Aris competed in his 7th Games and won his first gold medal proving that his persistence paid off.

Aris believes that when you have a transplant and are on such heavy medication for so long, it is important to stay fit and he recognized more and more, the physical and mental benefits, of staying fit. Aris feels he started exercising too late and lost precious muscle power which he has had to work hard at to retrieve. Learning from his own experience he is now able to encourage and pass on his knowledge to other transplant recipients in the hopes that they understand not everyone is able to perform on a high level, but everyone can just start moving.

Aris plans to reach his 30th transplant anniversary, and stay fit and active to receive his next transplant should it ever be needed.