Brave Emily's set for transplant games

AT the age of six little Emily Gentry was fighting for her life after developing a potentially fatal heart condition.But the inspirational youngster underwent a heart transplant operation at Great Ormond Street Hospital, and battled on as her body rejected the new organ four times.

AT the age of six little Emily Gentry was fighting for her life after developing a potentially fatal heart condition.

But the inspirational youngster underwent a heart transplant operation at Great Ormond Street Hospital, and battled on as her body rejected the new organ four times.

Now, two years later, Emily is in perfect health and is set to line up and compete in this week's British Transplant Games, which run until Wednesday.

The brave eight-year-old, who lives in Mallard Road, Ipswich, will contest the ball throw, obstacle race and 50-metre run events at the games, which are being held in Keele.


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Cheering her on will be proud mum Marie, who told how Emily was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy after suffering a virus at the age of six.

Mrs Gentry added: "Emily was very lucky because she only had to wait for three and a half weeks before a donor was found – some people are waiting for months or even years.

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"Since her transplant, Emily has gone from strength to strength. This will be Emily's first Transplant Games following her surgery.

"It is indescribable and there probably will be a few tears when she goes running round the track."

The Transplant Games were first held 25 years ago in Portsmouth and attracted 100 participants to the one-day event, which was the brainchild of consultant surgeon Maurice Slapak.

Since then, the annual event has gone from strength to strength, with this year's games boasting more than 500 competitors and 1,000 supporters.

Those who take part in the various sports, from athletics to swimming, have all undergone major transplant surgery.

The aim of the games is to promote organ donation awareness and to encourage people to join the Organ Donor Register.

Janet Homes, Senior Play Specialist at Great Ormond Street Hospital, said: "The games are a celebration of how far the children have progressed since undergoing their transplants, and what a fundamental role donors play in transforming their lives.

"It just goes to show how important donors are and how much the lives of the children have changed since their transplant."

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