Maggie’s Story:

Three years ago Maggie had a heart transplant at Royal Papworth Hospital. This year Maggie is competing in her third British Transplant Games.

After a diagnosis of Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) in 2001 Maggie experienced a slow debilitating illness that was progressively getting much worse and making her very sick. By 2016 she was in desperate need of a heart transplant.

Maggie said: “I was told I had days - maybe weeks to live. It was suggested I stay in hospital until I received a transplant - and I did.”

Due to the severity of Maggie’s condition, she was put on the emergency transplant list only a week after her arrival at Royal Papworth Hospital. “I was put on the emergency list at 10pm which I knew nothing about as I was left to sleep. At 6am I was woken up and asked what I would like to eat. Too early I thought and voiced it. I was told I should eat as I was having an op! I was very lucky.”

“After the transplant I instantly felt the difference as I could lay flat whereas before I had to sit up and sleep as I could not breathe if I lay back. I was constantly tired, breathless and needed help with day to day tasks.”

The British Transplant Games will take place this year in Newport, Wales from the 25th-28th July. 

The Games see teams of transplant recipients from hospitals across the UK come together to compete in a 25 different sports, with athletes as young as five years old competing. The Games are a celebration and appreciation for, and remembrance, donors and their families, while raising awareness for organ donation and encourage transplant recipients to lead healthy and active lifestyles.

“I decided to do the Games when approached by the Team manager at a social I attended. You had to have had your transplant for a year. I had mine 1 year 3 days when I first entered. I swam and played table tennis. I thought it would be good to have something to aim for and it would get me back to my fitness level, with any luck! I did return home with a silver and bronze that year.”

“The Transplant Games have played a significant role in my physical health, I am now back to my old self and exercising more than ever. I exercise five days a week, including various classes, and I have even passed my Zumba Teacher Course.”

The British Transplant Games has a great atmosphere and everyone seems to pull together. I heard about it a Royal Papworth Social which I recommend going to as I have made life long friends. I always look forward to seeing other team members whom I have not seen since last year and also the other hospital teams from around the country.”

“The Games are a great way of appreciating how lucky I am and it’s a kind of homage to my donor. It makes me feel alive and I enjoy being with others who have been through something similar.”

Maggie says she would summarise the British Transplant Games in three words; “competitive, social laughter”

In the future, Maggie hopes to do volunteer work at Royal Papworth. “It’s a thank you to all, for caring for me and getting me back on track. I would like to help others in hospital to realise Transplant is not the end of the line. Life goes on and we all have a lot to live for.”