Simon Angear, Content Editor Monday, August 5, 2013 10:00 AM
A LOCKING schoolgirl will take part in a national athletics contest later this month – just seven months after having a life-saving kidney transplant.
Elle Russ in recovery after her transplant operation.
Ellen Russ, aged 15, underwent a successful organ transplant last December, and will now compete as part of the Bristol Children’s Hospital team at the British Transplant Games in Sheffield.
The multi-talented Worle Community School student will compete in table tennis, badminton, a 100m sprint, the track relay and a 50m breaststroke swim.
Ellen, who raised money to help fund the trip by selling cakes to friends and family, says her life has been transformed by the operation, and she is looking forward to taking part in the games.
She said: “Before my transplant I had no energy and was tired and ill all the time.
“I had to take lots of medicines every day and struggled to be active and to concentrate, especially at school.
“We had a call on December 22 from the transplant co-ordinator to say that a possible kidney had been found.
“I was in Centre Parcs with my dad at the time and we had to go to Bristol Children’s Hospital where we had to wait for 24 hours before it was confirmed that the kidney was a good match.
“The operation went ahead on December 23.
“I feel very lucky to have been given this amazing gift and will be forever grateful to the donor and their family for giving me a chance to have a great future.
“Since the transplant I have had much more energy and have been able to do more sport and exercise.
“I am looking forward to competing in the games alongside other people who are as lucky as me.”
Graham Moore, chairman of the games’ organising committee and sponsor Westfield Health, said he hoped the event would help raise awareness of transplant options and help more people like Ellen.
He said: “It’s a great opportunity for people such as Ellen to share their story and inspire people to sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register.
“The games showcase the benefits of transplantation and the healthy, active lives many patients can now lead.”
The games have become one of the UK’s largest multi-sports events, and will feature around 500 transplant athletes aged two to 82 when they take place from August 15-18.
To add your name to the NHS Organ Donor Register call 0300 1232323, text SAVE to 84118 or visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk