Young Hero Lee pledges money to others

A TEENAGER who was hailed a "young hero" for his bravery in dealing with a range of disabilities has now done his bit to help disabled sports stars. Lee Mullett, 17, has battled against Vater syndrome for his entire life and has had to undergo two kidney transplants.

By Jonathan Barnes

A TEENAGER who was hailed a "young hero" for his bravery in dealing with a range of disabilities has now done his bit to help disabled sports stars.

Lee Mullett, 17, has battled against Vater syndrome for his entire life and has had to undergo two kidney transplants.

But the tireless youngster, from Ipswich, still manages to juggle a college course and part-time job and play a number of sports.


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In November, he triumphed at the National Kidney Research Fund's annual Young Hero Awards and was handed prize money of £2,000, with three-quarters of it going to his chosen cause.

Last week, he presented £1,500 to The Transplant Games and Recreational Fund, a new charity which aims to generate enough money to send a team to The National Transplant Games.

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He handed over the money at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, where he spent much of his early life having operations and treatment. The cash will go towards the cost of sporting clothing for children taking part in the games.

Lee, of Wigmore Close, said he was "surprised and chuffed" to have won the award and pleased to be able to give the money to a good cause.

"I've had a lot of treatment and help throughout my life and it is nice to give something back. My dad entered me into the competition and it was brilliant to win," he said.

"I have to go for check-ups once a month but I don't let my condition stop me doing anything. I am doing a course at Suffolk College and hope to go into computers and insurance. I also play football, table-tennis and badminton."

Lee was born with Vater syndrome, which indicates six different types of deficiencies – ventricular, arterial, radial, tracheal, oesophageal and renal.

He suffers or has suffered from all but arterial (problems), and had surgery on the day he was born to correct an incomplete trachea and oesophageal pipe.

Lee's other problems included one very small kidney, which failed from birth and needed operations to relieve the stress on it.

In 1998, he had a kidney transplant but after the new organ failed he had another operation last year, which appears to have been more successful.

Overall, he has undergone surgery about 26 times, as well as a wealth of minor surgery and hundreds of outpatient appointments at Great Ormond Street Hospital and Ipswich Hospital.

Lee, who signed himself up for his local football team when he was 12, hopes to raise even more cash for The Transplant Games and Recreational Fund with a nine-mile bicycle ride.

His father, David Mullett, said: "I could go on singing Lee's praises. There are probably many children like Lee who achieve much despite their illness, however, he never ceases to amaze me."

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