Lydia triumphs at British Transplant Games

When I was born, I was very seriously ill with a condition called progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis (pfic). This effected my liver and as a result made me very yellow (like a Simpson) and extremely itchy. 8 years ago I got a second chance because I had the operation that saved my life. This year is my 8 year anniversary of when I had my liver transplant. I then spent one month recovering in hospital. Every year I get bigger and stronger.

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Lydia after her liver transplant surgery.

Since having my transplant I have been a member of Leeds children’s transplant team and every summer I compete in the British Transplant Games. The British Transplant Games allow people of all ages to compete at a whole load of different sports, such as all the track and field events, swimming and cycling. The games are held in different towns and cities every year and you can win medals in every event you compete in. This year it was held in Newcastle and Gateshead and I picked up 2 golds and a bronze. I got the two golds in a 3k cycling time trial and a 3k run, and the bronze in badminton.

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Lydia competes in the 3k cycling time trial.

If it is was not for people like my organ donor and his family I would not have had this wonderful second chance in life. There are lots of other children and adults that need life saving operations to give them the second chance they are hoping for just like I did.

“I am immensely proud of my daughter as most fathers are; however, mine goes further than that. Throughout her life she has always shown there are no boundaries in life: overcoming her illness and transplant and following her passions of horse riding and cycling. This year, I grew a few inches taller with pride when she became the British Under 15 Transplant Cycling champion. It’s hard to hold back the tears when I think how well she has done all because of a brave donor family.”

Lydia’s Dad

“Before the transplant, life was hard for Lydia, dealing with constant itching, huge amounts of medication and hospital visits. Life for Lydia now is something she grabs with both hands and enjoys whether it’s horse riding, cycling or competing in the British Transplant Games. If it hadn’t been for her organ donor, Lydia wouldn’t be able to enjoy doing these things, she may not have even been here. Her donor and his family are always in my mind and I am internally thankful to him for carrying a donor card and telling his family of his wishes. This has allowed Lydia that second chance in life.”

Lydia’s Mum

“Before our Granddaughters transplant, she was very poorly and didn’t have much strength in her little body. Then came the amazing news that a donor had been found and the transplant went ahead. Lydia was supposed to stay in intensive care for 4 weeks. After only 1 week she was out of her bed and pushing her drip stand down the corridor shouting “Look Gran, I can run….” How proud we were of her, tears of utter joy flowed. This was the beginning of a new life for Lydia, nothing defeats her. She’s a fighter with such determination. Her motto in life is: “I can do it” and she can and does. Thanks to her amazing donor. We are so proud of our granddaughter Lydia.”

Lydia’s Grandparents

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Monday 7 to Sunday 13 September is National Transplant Week and the NHS is running its 7 Days to Say Yes I Donate campaign to get people talking about organ donation. You can find out more by visiting www.organdonation.nhs.uk.