A terminal cancer survivor who was the world’s first person to receive a multivisceral organ transplant has completed a 2000-mile Monkey Bike challenge, raising almost £3000 for the Pelican Foundation.
Adam Alderson, who underwent a gruelling operation to remove eight of his abdominal organs after contracting a rare form of terminal cancer, rode from Barcelona through Europe and across the sea to Wensleydale with his wife Laura, in a bid to raise the profile of organ transplant.
The Pelican Foundation supports people with bowel, liver, prostate and bladder cancers by improving precision surgery. Their aim is to discover the most effective treatment for each individual patient, refining treatment options to achieve the best outcomes for patients’ survival and quality of life.
Pelican also develop training and communication of the latest procedures by delivering professional courses as well as leading research into pelvic cancer surgery and treatment.
In 2015, Adam was diagnosed with Pseudomyxoma Peritonei- a rare type of bowel cancer that begins in the appendix as a polyp, before bursting and spreading cancerous cells to the lining of the abdominal cavity.
The couple sought help from Professor Brendan Moran, consultant colorectal surgeon at Basingstoke Hospital and is on the board for the Pelican Foundation.
Commenting on his journey, Adam said:
I’ve always been stubborn, so being critically ill only fuelled that fire. To me, it just didn’t feel like it was supposed to be the end; I have a love for life and people I love in life so the fight was not over!
I always remember the moment I arrived and met Brendan, I knew this was my last chance at finding a way to save my life. Brendan is a kind softly spoken man who just made everything seem OK, however following scans and investigations it was confirmed the conventional surgery was not an option.
Mr Moran however did inform us that they could attempt to perform a multivisceral transplant operation that would include the complete removal of my abdominal organs. He advised they would need to add me to the transplant list and wait for a suitable donor, during which time, I would need to be in the best condition possible to undergo the surgery.
Six weeks later I was listed as ‘live’ on the donor list and only 32 hours later, the call arrived that a potential donor had been found.
It took over 30 surgeons a total of 17 hours to perform the life-changing surgery, which at the time had only ever been attempted three times before, and sadly all the recipients had died following the operation.
Surgeons successfully removed Adam’s Stomach, Spleen, Gallbladder, Appendix, Small Bowel, Large Bowel, Abdominal Wall, Pancreas and a tumour which weighed approximately 10kg. Adam was then transplanted with multiple abdominal organs from a donor.
Adam is now recognised as one of only nine people in the world to survive the surgery and is committed to living his best life in honour of his donor.
Since Adam entered recovery, the couple have launched their own fundraising group, Yorkshire Yaks, with the intention to continue supporting families coping with a terminal diagnosis and raising awareness of organ donation.
Image credit: Pelican Foundation