Olympic champion and 110 metre hurdles world record holder Aries Merritt is to have a kidney transplant next week.
The American took gold at the London Games in 2012, before setting a new record of 12.80 seconds at the Brussels Diamond League meeting a month later.
However, Merritt was diagnosed with kidney disease in 2013, and was told he may never run again, but qualified comfortably from his heats at the World Championships in Beijing on Wednesday, and remains in contention to add to his Olympic gold.
The 30-year-old will undergo the procedure in Arizona on Tuesday, where he will receive one of his sister’s kidneys.
“I’m here for mental sanity more than anything,” he said.
“I don’t want to be sitting in my house awaiting surgery. I’d rather be out enjoying life to the fullest.
“Who knows? This could potentially be my last championship if things don’t go well. But I’m optimistic that I’ll be back and able to train for the Rio Olympics.
“When they told me I’d never run again, my whole world ended in my mind.
“That I am here again running shows me that I’m a fighter and that I can overcome anything if I stay with a positive mind.
“For this championships, I’m going to take it one race at a time.
“Just to be keeping that secret, it felt like a weight had been lifted when I was able to share it.
“The positive outreach has been amazing. I love running, I love competing, this is my life and here I am.”