Kidney transplants, leukemia fail to subdue this Thrissur man's spirit

Davis Kollannur is travelling to Newcastle in England on August 15 to take part in the World Transplant Games, having defeated death thrice. Each time his life was threatened, Davis survived and will be now competing for India in badminton at the Games. Reluctant to allow Davis to travel alone, his doctor will be accompanying him.

Though he had to undergo kidney transplant twice and was subjected to treatment for leukemia, Davis escaped death.

The first ‘game’

Davis (51) of Ponganamkad in Thrissur loved badminton since a young age. He also liked cricket. While working as a chief cashier at the showroom of Fashion cloth and accessories in Saudi Arabia also, Davis kept in touch with his badminton practice.

It was during those days that he suffered from hypertension and on examination, both of his kidneys were found damaged. Davis then quit his job and returned to Kerala. He sought treatment from nephrologist Dr T T Paul at West Fort Hospital in Thrissur. Dialysis was started but doctors said that a kidney transplant was inevitable.

On August 25, 2001, Davis received a kidney from the friend of a relative. Those days, there was a misconception that a patient should lead an idle life after a transplant. Naturally, Davis began putting on weight. When his doctor suggested exercise, Davis remembered his prowess in badminton. But he was somewhat apprehensive. The doctor told Davis that he should remain confident. “The attached kidney will not tear off if you play badminton,” affirmed the doctor.

The second ‘game’

Every evening, Davis practiced badminton at Thrissur Indoor Stadium. He won the gold medal at the National Transplant Games in 2003. The victory boosted his confidence. Davis won another gold medal at the National Games held in Ludhiana in 2006. He secured three more gold medals in the Athletics events.

Davis was among the four Indians who took part in the World Transplant Games hosted by Toronto in 2011. He returned with a silver medal, which was a historic feat. Davis was the first person from Kerala to win this honour. At the Durban Games also Davis repeated his silver medal-winning performance.

During this time, Davis joined the West Fort Hospital as a transplant coordinator. Davis felt that his life was on track. However, death lured him again in 2014. Regularly complaining of fatigue, Davis was diagnosed with leukemia.

Treatment started at CMC Vellore and Amrita Hospital in Kochi. When chemotherapy commenced, there was a complication. The body may reject a transplanted kidney as the side effect of chemotherapy. Davis overcame leukemia thanks to chemo but he had to pay a big price - his transplanted kidney.

Third ‘game’

Davis prepared himself mentally to undergo kidney transplant for a second time the surgery took place on January 28, 2016. Davis was discharged on February 12 and resumed his work on March 1. Within six months, the urge to play badminton became uncontrollable. However, the doctor advised him to tread cautiously.

Davis too felt that too much exertion was not necessary. He started playing badminton again. Now it has been three years since then. Davis is heading to the World Transplant Games once more. He will be on the court at Newcastle on August 17 as the main player as well as the team manager. Dr Paul will be among the spectators, cheering for Davis.

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