The first person from the UK to have a his both hand transplant now writes a letter to thank his surgeon has been one the highlights of his first nine months since the pioneering operation, as well as being able to clap the achievements of his favourite rugby league team.
Chris King, 57, described how he has got his life back since the surgery in July last year, when he became the second person to have a hand transplant at the UK’s specialist centre for the operation at Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) and the first to have both hands replaced.
Mr King demonstrated how he can now do a range of tasks, including writing, making a cup of tea and gardening as he progresses even faster than his surgeon expected.
Mr King also said he is amazed how much he enjoys clapping, especially when cheering on Leeds Rhinos on the rugby pitch, or his football team, Leeds United.
He added: ‘I’ve never been but I will go one day and clap a lot and shout a lot, even if we lose.’
Mr King is determined to again thank the family of the person who donated his hands and encourage others to do provide what he calls ‘this wonderful gift’.
Mr King described how he celebrated re-learning how to hold a pen and write again with a letter to the professor.
And he said his handwriting was improving every day, now he has decided he will resume being left-handed.
Mr King said: “Everything’s just progressing and it’s bigger strides too that I’m making – bigger than I thought I’d ever be doing.
“I think that will be the icing on the cake when I can do my laces, and I don’t think that’s far off.”
Shortly after his operation, Mr King said his first aim was to pour a pint of his favourite Yorkshire ale, Timothy Taylor’s, from a bottle.
He said: “I did enjoy it. It tasted sweeter because of what I had done. It was a little mini-celebration, just for me.”
He said he was amazed how much he enjoys clapping, especially when cheering on Leeds Rhinos on the rugby pitch, or his football team, Leeds United.
Mr Cahill was the first person to have the first hand transplant operation in the UK, while Mr King was the first to have both of his hands replaced.
The pair became friends and are now members of an exclusive club, which now has an additional member after Professor Kay’s team carried out a further double transplant.
Since the operation last year, the donor’s family issued a statement which said: “Our brother was a kind, caring and considerate person who would have given the shirt off his back to help somebody in need.
“Learning that he had registered as an organ donor made our decision to support him donating so much easier.”