A MAN who overcame a bone marrow transplant has won two medals at The British Transplant Games.

The British Transplant Games, which have run for more than 40 years, allow transplant survivors from the age of five and above to compete in various sports – with many going on to compete at the World Transplant Games.​

61-year-old Professor Nicholas Topley, who has lived in Barry since 1989, competed as a cyclist in the 2022 games in Leeds and won:

  • A gold medal in the time trial;
  • A bronze medal in the road race.

Barry And District News:

“When I won, I actually cried,” said Professor Topley.

“I felt a release of emotion; it wasn’t just about the achievement but the camaraderie of the British Transplant Games.

“You meet some nice, really competitive people; the positivity and support is incredible.”

At the age of 61 he believes that he is the fittest he has been in 25 years.

He added that people with any kind of transplant can take part in the British Transplant Games; the silver medal for the cyclist time trial for this age group was the survivor of a heart transplant.

Professor Topley had a bone marrow transplant in 2009 and wanted to raise money for the haematology department at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.

Once healthy enough he started taking part in triathlons – now competing in at least two a year – and, in 2016, he took up cycling.

Barry And District News:

“People do better post-transplant if they keep fit,” said Prof. Topley.

“It’s about lifestyle choices and different capabilities but if you choose to be fit and work up to it then it becomes ingrained.

“It has a good outcome – not just physically, but mentally.”

He first competed in The British Transplant Games in 2019, earning silver in the time trial. Despite knowing of the games from medical school, he'd “had no idea of the level of competition” at the annual event.


“The games are a celebration of successful transplants with competitions for everyone - young and old,” said Prof. Topley.

“They’re motivational and raise awareness of Anthony Nolan and the need for blood stem cells and bone marrow donation."

Through events - such as the games and triathlons - Prof. Topley has raised funds for Cardiff and Vale's haemeatology department. 

He buys his own kit and askes businesses for sponsorship; in return for a donation his sponsors are advertised on the kit which he wears at events in the UK and in Spain.

Due to winning a medal (or two) Prof. Topley has qualified to take part in the European Transplant and Dialysis Sports Games in Oxford later this month.