Staffordshire transplant survivor fights for gold at World Transplant Games

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Staffordshire’s Sue Bennett will represent Great Britain at the 2019 World Transplant games – just three years after life-changing surgery.

The 44-year-old, from Ranton near Stafford, battled through years of declining health issues due to an incurable disease called Primary Biliary Cholongitis, which caused her liver to fail.

In 2015, a liver transplant at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, changed her life forever.

There were times when Bennett was so ill she wrote farewell letters to her two sons and her daughter.

She even bought a wedding present for daughter Millie, now 16.

Three years later, Bennett says she is “honoured” to represent Great Britain for her second time on the world stage having won two bronze and a gold medal in 800 meters at Malaga in the 2017 world transplant games.

“It’s such a huge honour to represent my country at such a huge event at my home country in front of my friends and family.

“There’s so few words to describe the excitement, the nerves, the anticipation, it’s just fantastic and feel really privileged to have been selected once again in the world championships.

“We will be well supported and we will certainly do a lot of people proud.

“At the time, my chances of getting a donor was very slim so wrote my children a letter each trying to put in their traits they have and the parts of their lives of what I loved and the memories that we shared.

“I tried to get all the advice a mum would give to their children in a lifetime in a page of A4 paper was a challenge.

“It was a very long and hard letter to write for each of them, I had also brought my daughter a wedding present in preparation.”

Bennett has been competing in transplant sport for three years in running and swimming and has won multiple medals across British, European and World transplant games and each medal won is donated to her donors family.

Bennett at 2017 Malaga World Transplant games. Credit: Phil Horan Photography

“When I was recovering in hospital I thought there was nothing I could do for this family, nothing I could give, no way of expressing my gratitude for what they have given me and my family.

“But I could show them what my donor has done for me and show them what this gift has given me.

“After my first transplant competition in the British championships in Liverpool I decided that my gold medal goes to my donors mum called Sharron.

“That’s carried on each time I have done any great achievement in the sport I have given to Sharron in memory of my donor Amy Jones.”

Bennett’s next contest is the 2019 British Championships at Newport next summer and the 2018 four-time British medallist’s ‘ultimate goal’ is to glorify gold as well as securing a world record and raise awareness of organ donation.

“As a personal perspective I would like to raise awareness of organ donation and being a part of the transplant games plays huge part in that.

“My ambition is to win a gold with a world record and who doesn’t want that it’s the top of your game it’s were everyone wants to be at.

“But to take that back home and give that to Sharon would be my ultimate goal.

“So, raising awareness and bringing back medals, what more could I want.”

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