JOHN Leveson, aged 51, is deputy chief executive at Cumberland Building Society, for whom he has worked for 13 years. He is married to Anne and has three children, Daniel, Emma and Rachel. They live in Langwathby.
In January, 2007, John was diagnosed with a rare liver disease. The cause of the disease is unknown, there is no cure and John became very ill before a livertransplant saved his life. John received a new liver in a10-hour transplant operation, which took place at the Freeman Hospital, Newcastle, in December, 2009.
How long have you been a North Lakes member?
I was a member before my illness and joined again in December, 2010.
How often do you visit?
I aim to visit three times a week
What classes and/or exercise do you do?
I do a weekly spinning class and at least two other training sessions in the gym and pool.
What exercise did you do before joining the gym?
After leaving school I played rugby union for one of the teams in my home town of Bradford for 10 years, together with some cricket. I also did a lot of fell walking and mountain climbing. Anne and I climbed Mount Mulhacen (the highest peak on mainland Spain) and Mount Kilimanjaro. When I was diagnosed with the liver disease I was two days away from flying to Argentina tofulfil one of my big ambitions and climb the highestmountain in America Mount Aconcagua. I had to cancel the trip due to the diagnosis.
What prompted you to join the North Lakes?
After my transplant I found about transplant sport. There are British, European and world transplant games involving a wide range ofathletics and sports. I joined the Newcastle team for the British games in August, 2010, and set myself the goal of competing in the cycling road race, the cycling time trial and the 5k speed walk.
I trained for these games without using a gym and managed to win a silver and a bronze medal. However, I have now set my sights higher. My goal is to win a gold medal in the British Games in 2011. I have entered cycling, walking and swimming events and I realised that to have a chance of achieving my goal I had to step up my training and so I rejoined North Lakes.
When did you start to notice a difference?
Almost from day one. As I am training for a specific goal I record the results of all my sessions against the target times I need to achieve to be in with a chance of achieving my goal. My records show a steady improvement in my times over the past three months. Let’s hope thatcontinues!
What are your future targets?
To win a gold medal in Belfast at this year’s British Transplant Games andhopefully to compete in the European games in Zagreb in 2012 and the world games in Cape Town in 2013.
Message to others:
My transplant has shown me the importance of good health. Many of us take this for granted, but we should not it’s worth working for! And if you set yourself a goal, no matter how big or small it is good fun and a greatmotivator to feel yourselfgetting fitter and getting closer to that goal.