I was diagnosed with epitheliod hemangioendothelioma, a form of tumor in the blood vessels in my liver when I was 35 years old and my children were 6 and 8. I thought I was in good health and the diagnosis came as a total shock. I only have 2 stomach aches and thought the ultrasound recommended by my doctor were just routine. For a few months doctors did not know what exactly they were seeing on my scans and then the diagnosis was confirmed by Professor Bernard Portman, the liver pathologist at King’s College. I knew no one who had had a transplant and imagined the worst. My children spent their time asking me if I was going to die. My husband was crushed and I had to just try and be jolly going into the unknown.  Funnily enough I was able to work full time and train hard (I was a fitness instructor and had a sports shop in the Swiss Alps). I just needed a liver transplant!

A documentary film was made about my wait and I volunteered for various transplant charities. My mother always said that one should turn a minus into a plus in life and so I wanted my illness to serve a purpose. I got THE call after 9 months. My surgeon told me to bring my courage and my toothbrush and that’s what I did.

I celebrated my 17th transplant anniversary in May this year. My transplant opened up a whole world I knew nothing about and has made my life richer than I could ever have imagined. I have a huge transplant family around the world now.

In 2002 I started an international transplant kids camp called TACKERS where we invite 50 kids from around the world to ski in the Alps once a year. We have made films in several languages. I was invited to climb Kilimanjaro for a scientific experiment for transplant recipients by Belgian transplant surgeon, Professor Jacques Pirenne, in 2003 and arrived at the summit at 5895m. I have been taking part in the Winter and Summer World Transplant Games since 2001 and the Euregiotour cycling tour from Innsbruck to Arco 4 times since my transplant. In 2011 I was elected onto the World Transplant Games Federation Council and spend most of time time now doing transplant related things.

This will be my first time at the British Games. Lynne Holt and Lisa Beaumont have been telling me to come for years and Newcastle, here I come. I had never done any competitive sport before my transplant. Ottilie Quince, the amazing GB transplant cyclist, has offered to lend me a bike, so I will be cycling and running. That is what is so wonderful about the transplant community, we al look out for each other.

We organzied the 2012 Winter World Transplant games in Anzère, the Alpine village where I now live in Switzerland. We are going to be running adult transplant camps as from 2016 to have any excuse to find all our friends in the snow! All this thanks to my donor and his family. I think he would be pleased and so would they. Respect.