A woman who needed an urgent heart transplant just five years ago has picked up a brace of medals at an inspirational sporting competition.
Susan Butler from Glinton underwent a heart transplant operation in December 2012 after being diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
After making a recovery, 53-year-old Susan took part in this year’s British Transplant Games in Motherwell, Scotland and picked up two silver medals - one in the darts competition and one in shot putt.
She had the operation at Papworth Hospital in Cambridge, and learned about the annual competition while having treatment there.
Susan said: “The care I received at Papworth was amazing. The staff are lovely. They all work so hard and are dedicated and passionate about what they do. I am now an official member of the Papworth family because once you have a transplant you need lifelong care.
“I got talking to the Transplant Games team manager at Papworth one day. She is very keen to get everyone involved in transplant sport- even if you’re not sporty (which I’m not!). After talking to her I decided to go to the games and see what they were all about. That was three years ago.
“I chose to do the 3km walk and when looking through the list of sports you can participate in I noticed ten pin bowling, as I’d been with friends I entered that too. Further down the list was shot putt, I thought, well I did that at school- so decided to enter that too.
“This year, I also added darts. I have a dart board in my garage where I practise. Initially, I was frightening my cat with my wild throws but am much more accurate now.
“The medals were a lovely surprise. I hoped I might win something, but never expected to come home with two silver medals. I am now in training for Birmingham 2018.”
Susan is now encouraging others who have had transplants to take part - and for residents to sign up to the organ donation register.
She said: “I am grateful for the life and opportunities that my heart transplant has given me, including the opportunity to take part in the British Transplant Games.
“However, there are still many people who need a transplant and sadly some people die while waiting.
“In some cases potential transplant opportunities are lost because people who want their organs to be used after their death do not make their wishes known to their next of kin. If you are willing to donate your organs after your death – and save a life like mine - it is important for you to sign up to the organ donor register and discuss your wishes with your family.”
Susan invited anyone to contact her for information about transplants or the games by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org