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Sunderland teenager competes in transplant games

SPORTING CHANCE: Linzi Saunders with her mum Michelle, who is also childrens team manager for the Freeman Hospital squad at the Transplant games, and her dad James.

SPORTING CHANCE: Linzi Saunders with her mum Michelle, who is also childrens team manager for the Freeman Hospital squad at the Transplant games, and her dad James.

A TEENAGER who had a double transplant as a child is competing in games against others who have gone through similar procedures.

The British Transplant Games start today in Bolton and will feature a team who were helped by the transplant unit at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital.

Among them will be Linzi Saunders, 17, of Ryhope, who was first given a bone marrow transplant at the age of three in a battle against leukaemia.

Her brother James, now 28, made the donation.

Then, six years later, she had a heart transplant after her parents, Michelle and James, were told she was suffering from the heart defect cardiomyopathy.

At the games, the Sunderland College art and design student will be part of the heart and lung transplant team.

She will appear in the ball-throw challenge and 10-pin bowling competition as a member of its adult team, while her mum, 47, will lead the children’s squad.

Michelle, who is also mum to Dawn, 30, and Kaye, 26, and a grandmother-of-four, said: “The transplant games are sporting, but a social occasion as well.
When these children are at home there’s often no one in their area who has gone through a transplant and what they have.

“They can feel isolated, but here they get to meet up with people just like them.”

The team will be sponsored by Silkworth’s One Stop shop, whose name will appear on their T-shirts.

Kez Greenwood, from Hall Farm, who has had a heart transplant, will take part in the shot put, as will Chester-le-Street’s Rebecca Long.

To join the NHS Organ Donor Register and help save lives TEXT: SAVE to 62323, call 0300 123 2323 or visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk.

 

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