I was born in 1970 with a complex congenital heart disorder. Being born with it I knew no different really, I struggled with p.e and exercise and got very out of breath but had a go at lots of things and led a pretty normal life whilst heart medicine made its advances.

Age 25 my health deteriorated and I had my first open heart surgery in London. In 2008 a second large open heart operation took place at Freeman Hospital. In 2010/2011 my health again started to deteriorate and it was about this time that the word transplant was discussed as the only option left available.

In 2013 on a routine admission to remove fluid from my body, blood results showed I was entering multi organ failure as my heart was not strong enough. The next day I was put on the emergency transplant list and waited in hospital on IV Milrinone for a new heart. Six weeks later I received my gift of life!

In the last 20 months I’ve gone from being hardly able to walk half a mile, to running 3 times a week, training for the great north run, swimming and cycling with my family. It has given me the most important thing which is the confidence that I may just get to see my 9 year old daughter become an adult herself.

These will be my first transplant games and I am taking part in swimming, cycling, 800m, javelin, donor 3k run and volleyball. I am unlikely to win any medals but the privilege of being well enough to even compete in such sports when I have never so much as run a step in 43 years is more than enough.

I exercise daily because for the first time ever I can and I feel so alive after it. I am truly grateful to my amazing donor (a man in his early 20’s) who donated his organs and to his very brave family for allowing this to happen at such a dark time in their lives.