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Don’t Let the Kidney Bring You Down: A Spectacular Story of Ottilie Quince

By Tereza Antonova

When you hear the details of her story, a question might pop into your head. Is this a plot of a Mexican soap-opera we’re supposed to believe really happened? When she was 24, Ottilie found out after a routine check-up she had a severe kidney disease, meaning her kidneys worked only at 20 % of their capacity. Doctors told her that she has six months to get a transplant or she is facing lifetime dialysis rounds.

The first possible donors were the members of her family. Ottilie’s father, however, had only one kidney left at the time, as he donated the second one to his brother years before. So it was down to Ottilie’s mother and three siblings. However, when her family undertook the examinations to find out who’s the most suitable donor, it turned out that her eldest brother was born with one kidney missing. It was naturally a very stressful period of time but, in the end, Ottilie’s mother was chosen as the best match. The transplant was a success and the family still refers to the kidney as to the “Poppet” (as it was, according to her mum, simply popped into her daughter).

Years later, we can call Ottilie Quince a multiple world championship winner in World Transplant Games, a sports commentator, and a sports therapist. She used to be a football player but after her kidney transplant, she was told to switch to another sports discipline (as football was too dangerous for her) and that’s when cycling came to place. In 2010, Quince entered a British Transplant Games race, just to see what it’s like. And while doing so, she won a gold medal both in the road race and time trial and later joined the British Transplant Cycling Team.

When attending the British Transplant Games, Ottilie felt a weird pain in the “Poppet”. An ultrasound scan showed a cancerous tumour, but that didn’t stop her from attending the World Championship in South Africa and winning another gold medal. Only after the race, Quince returned home so the tumour could be excised. And so it was. Since then, Ottilie has kept on rollin’ and never really ceased her activities.

Winning both the road race and time trial in 2018 at the European Championships in Sardinia.

After the transplant, she built a sports therapy business, helping other people dealing with injuries maintain their lifestyles and enjoy exercise. Since 2014, you can see her commentating motorbike and cycling races: she has a selfie wall with all the riders and their support team members she’s done an interview with.

Ottilie now lives in Mallorca, where she set up a special hub called OQ Service Course. It’s a place for all the cyclists coming and searching not only for nutrition supplies or cycling apparel but also for a sports massage or simply peers to hang out with. Want to know more? Check out her Twitter!