Ambassadorial roles for inspirational child transplant athletes
Two inspirational children from Liverpool have been chosen to be ambassadors at the forthcoming Westfield Health British Transplant Games, which are being held this month.
Transplant athletes Maisie Danher, aged 10 from Prenton, Wirral and Luca Biagetti aged 9 from Frodsham, Cheshire, have been selected by our Chairman Graham Moore.
The Westfield Health British Transplant Games is one of the UK’s largest multi-sport events, and are organised by the charity Transplant Sport. The Games will welcome over 2,500 people to Liverpool between 28 and 31 July 2016. Over 800 participants who have received life changing organ, tissue and stem cell donations will compete in sporting events at multiple locations across the city.
Maisie and Luca will both compete at the Games for Birmingham Children’s Hospital Transplant Team and will assist in a variety of ways at the event, as well as showcasing the benefits of organ donation and encouraging people to sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register.
Maisie was born with a genetic liver disease and became critically ill when her health suddenly deteriorated in May 2010. She was placed in critical care at Birmingham children’s hospital and faced two nine hour operations just three days apart after her body rejected the first donor liver tissue. Maisie bounced back to health and just 15 months after her transplants she competed at her first Westfield Health British Transplant Games in Belfast in 2011, where she won four medals including two golds.
Jenny Danher, Maisie’s mum said: “Maisie absolutely loves taking part in the Westfield Health British Transplant Games and she is delighted that the Games are taking place in Liverpool this year as we live in Merseyside so she will have lots of family watching her competing and cheering her on.
“She was delighted to have been asked to be a Westfield Health child ambassador for the Games this year and she continues to make us all so very proud.
“This year she is taking part in the swimming events including backstroke, breaststroke as well as in the athletics in the 50m sprint, ball throw and obstacle race. Since her transplants she has taken part in the Games every year and it’s a great chance to meet up with her transplant buddies and win as many medals as possible for her team.
“As a family we are very much looking forward to the Games this year and showing everyone in our home city the amazing benefits of transplantation and what a difference giving the gift of life can make.”
Luca’s story is equally as inspirational. He became ill very suddenly in 2009 aged 2, the same day his younger brother, Daniel, was born. He had no previous history of liver disease, however he was put on the super-urgent transplant list and within a week and had a life-saving liver transplant 16 days after first taking ill.
Since his transplant at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Luca has won more than 20 medals competing at the British Transplant Games over the last 6 years. At his very first games he won his first medal (silver) as a 3-year-old with a ball throw of nearly 10m. He was a joint winner of the best child under 5 trophy at the 2012 Games in Medway.
At the Westfield Health British Transplant Games Luca will compete in the 50m sprint, obstacle course, 25m breaststroke swimming, long jump and mini marathon for the age group 9-11 years.
Luca’s Dad Nick Biagetti, said: “We are really proud of what he has achieved and the confidence the games has given him. He is our miracle boy who enjoys life to the full. Meeting other children that have been through something similar has been extremely important for him and he can't wait to catch up with his friends this year.
“He is very much looking forward to competing at the Games this year as this is Luca’s ‘home’ games being close to Frodsham. Lots of his friends and family will be turning up to cheer him on and to see Luca compete.
“Luca is very proud and honoured to be a Westfield Health ambassador. He is looking forward to joining his good friend Maisie on supporting Westfield Health’s sponsorship of the British Transplant Games.”
Our Chairman Graham Moore commented: “When I first met Maisie and Luca I was overwhelmed at how positive and outgoing they are. They made a real impression on me and I felt compelled to invite them to be the inaugural Westfield Health child ambassadors for the British Transplant Games.
“They are such brilliant examples of how life changing organ donation and transplantation can be and it has been inspirational to hear their life stories and see all the things they are achieving.
“We wish Maisie and Luca all the very best in their events at the Games and are very much looking forward to spending time with them in Liverpool.”