Teacher and pupil in Transplant Games
Teacher Garreth Rhodes and pupil Elodie Gray
A PUPIL and teacher from the same school have taken part in a charity event after undergoing organ transplants.
Beacon Rise Primary School's Elodie Gray, aged five, and teacher Garreth Rhodes both had their lives saved by pioneering surgery.
And now they have competed in the British Transplant Games, an annual event which raises awareness of organ donation.
The event, which took place in Newport from July 25-28, saw around 1,000 transplant survivors come together to compete in more than 23 sports.
Elodie, who lives in Kingswood, underwent a heart transplant when she was just seven months' old at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle.
Diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopthy at the age of three months, Elodie was rushed into intensive care at Bristol Children's Hospital and placed on the heart transplant list.
Her surgery has transformed her life and Elodie now wants to raise awareness of organ donation so other people can be helped just like she was.
Garreth, who teaches at Beacon Rise, had a liver transplant in 2016, following a diagnosis of primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) in the early 2000s.
Garreth said: “PSC is an incurable disease that slowly damages the liver to a point where it can no longer function, and it was roughly 12 years between diagnosis and my liver beginning to fail.
“I was placed on the transplant waiting list and, after one false start, received my new liver after just three months of waiting. From that point it was like getting a whole new lease of life, and I have subsequently competed in two previous transplant games and will be competing in the World Transplant Games later in August. I have been one of the very lucky ones, and I am immensely grateful to my donor family for saying yes.”
The games, organised on behalf of charity Transplant Sport, help increase awareness of the charity Anthony Nolan and its need for blood stem cells and bone marrow donation.