Marathon hero ‘runs faster’ after donating kidney to son

Jacob and James

Jacob and James - Credit: Archant

Dad in first 26-mile race just one year after surgery to save child

A dad who ran the London Marathon in under four hours – just a year after donating a kidney to his son – has proved the human body is capable of incredible things.

James Mosha, 43 who got himself to peak fitness after the major operation, spoke of the emotion he felt crossing the finish line.

“From 12 months ago, when I was wondering whether the transplant would work, to 12 months later knowing I had crossed the finish line and I had never done a marathon before was very emotional.

“There was so much support around the route. When you are feeling really tired like you can’t do any more, having people shout your name helps a lot – the atmosphere is amazing.”

Mr Mosha, of Meynell Crescent, South Hackney, gave up one of his kidneys to save the life of his 16-year-old son, Jacob, who was born with chronic renal failure and has been in and out of hospital his whole life.

Now he is fundraising for the British Kidney Patient Association (BKPA) and wants to increase awareness about the impact organ donation can have.

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He said: “The point I am trying to make is even with one kidney you can have exactly the same life as you had before and you can actually be faster.

“I had never run a full marathon before, though I had run a half marathon with two kidneys, and this time I did it quicker with one.

“In 2013 Jacob’s kidney packed in which meant being on dialysis most of 2014. The last time he was on dialysis was 10 years ago and you just don’t remember how much of an effect it has.

“It disrupts his school life and home life; Saturdays were just spent in hospital and holidays were tricky unless there was a place that offers dialysis. Every year a number of kids die while waiting for a suitable donor. I have seen this happen first hand.”

Mr Mosha spent just three months resting from the operation before taking on the epic challenge of marathon training which he worked around his job in finance.

Despite his determination, he said he was unsure whether he would be able to run the race until just a week before, when he set up his JustGiving page. But in seven days he raised almost £3,000 for BKPA, smashing his original target of £2,000.

He said: “I just think many people forget to go on the donor list but it is so easy on the NHS, it takes about three minutes. We have all heard the recent news of the youngest donor Teddy Houlston. If you pass, what greater way of having your legacy than giving life to more people – that is really the case, I have seen it happen.

“Also my heritage is black African and there are not many donors from the ethnic minority community, yet it’s a problem that really affects them, so raising awareness is good but specifically for minorities it is really important.

“A lot of people say they will think about donating but if you turn the question the other way and consider if a close family member who needed an organ should have one, most people would say yes. If you think about it like that, it is an easy decision to make.”

To sponsor Mr Mosha, visit