3 August 2023

It was New Year’s Eve 2020 when I complained to my wife Mandi about having some discomfort in my stomach. Now everyone knows that between Christmas and New Year, if it’s not nailed down, we all eat everything going. Or is that just me?

Anyway, I put the excruciating abdominal pain down to Christmas overindulgence. However, the pain got worse and my stomach was badly bloated.

I had a bath to relieve the pain and Mandi looked at me and said, “You look 9 months pregnant; we’re calling 111, the NHS advice line.”

They advised me to go to A&E, and after various tests, scans, and x rays, I ended up with ‘worried looking surgeons’ and anaesthetists standing around me in their white coats giving me their dire diagnosis.

“Mr Douglin,” said one of the worried looking surgeons, “Your bowel has ruptured and needs to me repaired immediately or you will die within 24 hours as your blood is being poisoned due to the rupture. We need you to sign this consent form straight away so we can start the procedure”.

So, my options were consent to a bowel resection to repair the damage, or possibly die of septicaemia with the next 24hrs. Decisions, decisions…!!

Now, there were two main thoughts running through my mind. First, what would the bowel resection entail? I literally had no idea, and second, that I hadn’t had the chance to tell the rest of my family I was going under the knife for lifesaving surgery.

Due to the fact I had a kidney transplant from a kidney donated by Mandi in 2010 at Guys Hospital in 2010, the surgeons decided I would be transferred there in case there were any complications during the bowel resection surgery, known formerly as a Hartman’s procedure.

With no time to waste, I was strapped in the back of the ambulance and whisked across London with the blues and twos on to have the lifesaving procedure carried out with no time to waste.

Although I was on strong pain medication, my body felt like I’d been put through a meat grinder. In order to repair my bowel & create the stoma, my small intestine had been redirected through a small opening in my stomach wall.

I had never ever heard of the condition ‘diverticulitis’ previously neither was I aware of the devastating impact it could have if not treated, or how it could be treated with surgery. But I am aware now.

These are the reasons why I founded the World Club Basketball Tournament in 2015 to raise awareness on the need for organ donors, and the need for research and funding. Little did I know that six years later I would be requiring lifesaving surgery to repair my bowel.

As a result, it seemed only natural to add raising awareness of bowel-related conditions to the WCBT’s objectives, and it is a privilege to do so with our new charity partner Bowel Research UK.

So here I am in 2023, planning the 7th World Club Basketball Tournament, being hosted on the 9th & 10th September in Hasting, Sussex where we will be promoting the good work BRUK do, and engaging with people through the sport of basketball.

Through a series of talks and discussions over the course of the weekend, we aim to make the ‘uncomfortable, comfortable’ because it’s not always easy to talk about our bowels or our personal health.

If you’d like to come along and support the Tournament and give the teams a cheer we’d love to see you. Please visit the website (https://worldclubbasketballtournament.com) to book tickets or find more information.