A triumphant team of young people who owe their lives to organ donation have celebrated Leeds’ best ever performance at the British Transplant Games.
Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust’s (LTH) 38-strong team of transplant patients brought home 57 medals as well as Leeds’ first Liver Cup, awarded to the best performing team of liver transplant patients.
The games, which took place in Newcastle and Gateshead earlier this month, saw 700 recipients of transplants take on a series of track and field events.
Bethany Salmon, 12, from Wakefield, had a liver transplant at the age of five. She competed in her fourth games this year, finishing fourth in the 100m sprint.
Her dad Tony, 55, explained that her health issues began shortly after birth and her liver deteriorated in late 2008. Without a transplant, doctors gave her just six months to live.
He said: “She was sleeping 20 hours a day, had no energy at all and was completely jaundiced – she was on 15 different types of medication just to stabilise her.”
As she continued to suffer, her family got the call that they had a donor in 2009. Her liver donor was a man in his 30s.
“She’s just like any other 12-year-old girl and has competed in the Transplant Games,” Tony added. “It’s great for raising awareness of organ donation, as without that many of these kids wouldn’t be here.”
Lisa Beaumont manages the LTH transplant team as a volunteer. She said: “It’s the gift of life. That’s why we want people to share their wishes.”
LTH is urging people to sign the NHS Organ Donor Register as part of the YEP-backed Be A Hero campaign.
The campaign was launched after it emerged that just 29 Leeds families donated organs last year as 800 people in Yorkshire await lifesaving transplants.