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27 July 2018

British Transplant Games 2018: Royal Papworth Hospital team has sights on another trophy

The British Transplant Games 2018 begin this week - and heart transplant recipient, and Royal Papworth Hospital team manager, Maggie Gambrill is once again gearing up for the challenge.

Maggie, who this year celebrates the 16th anninversary of her transplant, has her sights set on the team winning the ‘Best Heart & Lung Team’ trophy for the third successive year, at the Birmingham Games which take place 2-5 August.

“It would be great to win the team award this year and make it three times in a row - particularly in Royal Papworth Hospital's centenary year,” she said.

The Cambridgeshire resident, who was diagnosed with Dilated Cardiomyopathy in 1998 and had a heart transplant in 2002, said the benefits of being involved in the team extended way beyond the sports field.

“We are an expanding and successful team with great camaraderie and friendship. Individuals grow in confidence realising what they can achieve after their transplant, and the events provide a focus to keep fit and healthy. Transplant Sport events also promote the need to sign the Organ Donor Register.

“When I was very poorly I could not imagine ever being able to return to sport. However I found myself joining Transplant Sport UK and the Papworth Transplant Sport Team and since 2004 have competed at the annual British Transplant Games and bi-annual World Transplant Games and European Heart & Lung Transplant Championships.”

Maggie has competed in transplant competitions all over the world. She has won a number of medals over the years - all dedicated to her donor - in badminton, table tennis, archery and 100m track, among others.

As well as managing the sports team, she has been a volunteer at the hospital for 14 years, and is also involved in a Social & Support Group for pre and post-transplant patients and their family and friends. The group meets quarterly and has become a valued network in supporting patients and carers through their transplant journey.

“Transplant is not a cure – it’s the start of a new chapter of a lifetime management of drugs. It’s a lot to take in and being able to help other patients adjust makes a huge difference.  I wanted to give something back and support other transplant patients. Royal Papworth is my second home.”

“The expertise and continuing care of the surgeons, consultants and staff is amazing. They and my donor and donor family have saved my life. I live life to the full and will be forever grateful.”