Here’s our Liver Specialist Nurse, Caroline Winkley, celebrating with her super-swimmer daughter Ava, who celebrated her 16th birthday at the weekend.
Ava – who has unofficially been named as our Organ Donation Ambassador here at CHFT – won a host of medals last year at both the British and World Transplant Games. She’ll be in action again in August, at the British Transplant Games in Nottingham.
Caroline said: “This is a big year for Ava, as she also has her 10-year biopsy to check her progress. As well as the British games and because she's turned 16, she is eligible for selection for the European Transplant Games. This will be the first time she’ll be swimming in the adult competition. Its a big step, but I am sure she will face this with the same determination as she always does.
“Ava was just five when she had a liver transplant. She had a chronic illness called ornithine transcarbamylase (OTC) deficiency, which meant her body built dangerous levels of ammonia, that needed constant monitoring.
A recent campaign by NHS Blood and Transplant has highlighted the need for more paediatric donors. The aim is to encourage people to confirm their support for organ donation by joining the NHS Organ Donor Register, leading to more lives being saved both now and in the future.
Caroline added: “I must admit when I saw the campaign video, it took me right back to those times when we really weren’t sure how things might turn out for Ava.
“Celebrating this milestone birthday has really brought home how Ava’s transplant has helped her live a happy, healthy and normal life as a teenager, and I know that not everyone is as fortunate.”