GOLDEN girl Alice Skinner has returned from the country’s top sports event for people who have had life-saving transplants with a haul of medals.
The sporty Hartlepool youngster, who underwent 27 major operations before her 12th birthday, won a gold, silver and two bronze medals at the British Transplant Games.
Alice received a life-changing transplant in 2008 after she was born without properly formed kidneys and had to spend years on blood dialysis at hospital.
She won a gold medal in ball throwing at the games in Sheffield, got silver and bronze in swimming and another bronze in table tennis. Proud mum Nicola Andrews, 43, of Clavering, said: “She did really well considering it was her first year competing in the 12-14 girls’ group.
“We thought she might feel disadvantaged from being at the top of the group to being the youngest.
“It is such a massive event in the transplant world. Quite a lot of competitors had just come back from the World Transplant Games.”
Alice, who attends St Hild’s School, had only recently come out of the RVI Hospital in Newcastle where she spent a week for a bladder infection.
The games welcomed more than 650 people of all ages who have had life-saving transplants who competed in sports including archery, football, tennis and athletics.
It marked Alice’s fifth time competing in the games. She attended her first event in 2008, but could not take part as it was just after her operation.
But the games are not just about competing. They help raise awareness of the need for organ donors and are a chance for the competitors to swap stories and have fun.
Nicola, an administrative worker for Cleveland Police, added: “Everyone who goes has such an amazing experience. Everyone has their own story, both happy and sad.
“We all come back thinking ‘we can’t wait for next year’.”
Alice was Britain’s youngest patient to go on dialysis at the age of six months after she was born with a condition that affects just one baby in a million in the UK.