This is me - Eric Douglin
To celebrate what makes everyone so unique and special at DLG, we spoke to eight of our colleagues to find out what make them - well, them
I am a granddad
I am a grandad of four, with another one due in May. All five of them, strangely enough, will have been born within the same ten-day period in May. It's a very busy month with my daughter's birthday and my son's wedding anniversary taking place too – and yes, it gets expensive. But they're worth it. I'm proud of them all. They are all beautiful children, and I'm very grateful.
I am a survivor
I had a successful kidney transplant nine years ago. The donor was my wife Mandy, who also worked at DLG at the time. The odds of that are pretty much zero – she's white and I'm black, so a match in terms of our ethnicities is almost unheard of. And yet, we were a perfect match. Without that transplant I probably wouldn’t be around to see my grandchildren, or I'd still be very ill on dialysis.
The fact that my wife suggested getting tested herself, even though we knew it was highly unlikely she'd be a match – it must have been fate! Thanks to the transplant, I can watch my grandchildren grow. I can even run around the park with them. All of that is what makes me a survivor. And I am, thanks to her.
I am a volunteer
I travel around the country to speak at schools and for local communities. I do this to educate people about kidney-related illnesses and treatments and to encourage them to become organ and blood donors. I also talk to fellow survivors and those who are going through the transplant journey.
It hasn't always been easy, but I know I had my transplant for a reason. I can now share my story and let people see that once you’ve had an illness, you can come through the other side. Better yet, you can go out and live a worthwhile life supporting other people.
I am an ambassador
I got into sports and basketball because of my children and I wanted to use this passion to share my story and get people engaged through sport. Now I run a worldwide basketball event in aid of Kidney Research UK, which is one of the biggest tournaments in Europe. We have teams from Poland, Germany, Holland, America and the Philippines, which is great!
I speak to the players, coaches and spectators during these events. It's easier to share my message to the world when they're right in front of me. It's been a wonderful thing to be a part of, people are truly incredible when you give them the chance to be.
I am inspiring others
A lot of people have gone on to make friends because of the tournament and I’ve had many people join organ donation registers off the back of it. Since having the transplant, I’ve realised it impacts more people than I thought – everybody knows somebody who has either had a transplant or needs one. It affects everybody.
I still go to hospital to have my checks nine years later and there are people I was going to hospital with back then who are still on dialysis waiting for a transplant. I’m very lucky that my wife was the perfect match, and I want others to have the same opportunity that I did. Spreading my story will help make that happen.
I'd like to encourage everyone reading this to do the same too – it will make a huge difference to people like me. Yes, we're survivors – but it's only because of our incredible donors.
I am providing security
I work in the information security team at DLG. It involves lots of brain power, concentration and attention to detail. One of the things I wasn’t aware of when I initially became ill is what happens when your kidneys aren’t filtering toxins properly. These toxins affect your brain, especially your concentration, as they float around your body with nowhere to go. I didn’t realise this at the time, and my work was taking a hit.
Thankfully DLG understood and supported me. I really feel I can bring my whole self to work, every day.
I am DLG
My wife and I were both off work for three months, and all that time we didn’t have to worry about pay. In fact, we didn’t have to worry about anything at all. I’m very grateful DLG allowed us both to do that. It goes beyond my initial recovery too. If I'm unwell, or have a check-up, they're flexible about it. Even nine years on.
I've got a good story to share about this actually. After having my transplant, I had to go to hospital every day. During that time, I car-shared every day with a young lady who'd had her transplant at the same time, and we went back to work at the same time too.
When I went in on my first day back she was standing there. I said: "what are you doing here?" and she replied: "I work here!" We had shared our transplant journey together without knowing that we were both part of the DLG team. We even worked in the same building! It's a small world.
Click here to find out more information about the campaign.