BEAMING with delight, these two youngsters are the epitome of happiness clutching their hard- earned sporting medals and trophies - but their success was anything but easy as both children were the recipients of organ transplants.
The plucky pair were among those who have received the life-saving gift of a major organ and meet annually to take part in the British Transplant Games, held this year in Coventry.
Harriet from Balsall Common, was born with biliary atresia and had a liver transplant at seven months old. The transplant failed and she needed an urgent second liver. At just nine months old, the Lady Katherine Leveson School pupil received her second transplant.
Mum Debbie said: “She was yellow when she was born so she had the ultraviolet light treatment. We thought it was jaundice but it didn’t go away so then it becomes liver disease. Harriet’s first transplant was an adult liver cut down for a baby. She will have to take anti-rejection drugs for the rest of her life but she takes it all in her stride.
“This is the fifth time Harriet has taken part in the games. It’s lovely for the children to be involved from an early age and for the world to see how healthy they are and that they can thrive. It’s also to encourages people to donate. It was a very emotional day.”
Renal failure at just four -years-old saw Matthew Spain from Solihull undergo gruelling daily dialysis for two years.
The nine-year-old who lives in Stoneleigh Road with twin brother Daniel and parents Beverley and Stephen, then needed a double transplant in the shape of a liver and kidney. “He was so,so poorly. He couldn’t walk and didn’t want to do things like open his Christmas presents,” said mum Beverley. “Once he had the transplant he was full of life. It was absolutely brilliant. He missed about two years of school but he gets one to one help at St Alphege - they have been so supportive. Matthew’s transplant came from a 13- year-old boy who died of meningitis. We wrote a letter to his family and they were so lovely. It’s such an emotional experience at the games. The donor families are there, they open the event and the children are so full of life.”
The children competed in events over three days that included track and field, swimming, table tennis, badminton and obstacle courses. Harriet, who is nine took home a bronze medal while Matthew won a silver medal, both in the long jump.
To join the NHS Organ Donor Register call Organ Donor Line 0845 60 60 400.