Op survivor’s triple world games target

A WOMAN who underwent a life-saving heart transplant operation five years ago has jetted to Thailand for the World Transplant Games. Maggie Gambrill, 53, will be representing the UK and competing for a gold medal in badminton, golf and table tennis as par

A WOMAN who underwent a life-saving heart transplant operation five years ago has jetted to Thailand for the World Transplant Games.

Maggie Gambrill, 53, will be representing the UK and competing for a gold medal in badminton, golf and table tennis as part of the landmark games.

The event, which takes place every other year, is aimed at raising awareness of heart transplants and the importance of registering on the organ donor list.

Gambrill claimed three medals at the British Transplant Games, held in Edinburgh last month. She took a gold medal in badminton and bronze medals in table tennis, 400m and 800m.

Gambrill, from Kimbolton, said: "The heart transplant gave me a new life and the Games have played an important role in helping me live a full and active life.

"The event is part of the rehabilitation process and gives all competitors a focus, as well as being a place to celebrate the gift of life.

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"The whole British team is looking forward to the buzz and excitement in Bangkok, where we will try to bring back a host of gold medals."

Gambrill was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy in 1998 and underwent heart transplant surgery at Papworth Hospital in 2002.

She previously competed in the World Transplant Games in Canada in 2005, winning a gold medal in badminton doubles.

The Games run from August 25-September 2. Gambrill will compete in golf, table tennis and badminton at both singles and doubles.

The British Team of 125 athletes will join more than 1,000 others from 55 countries, all of whom have undergone an organ transplant.

The UK team won 199 medals in 2005, claiming the overall World Transplant Games title - and hopes are high of retaining the crown.

Lynne Holt, UK team manager for the 2007 World Transplant Games, said: "The World Transplant Games aims to raise awareness of the ongoing need for organ donation - and encourage people to sign the organ donor register.

"By staging these events people see the direct benefits of organ donation as they witness these amazing athletes triumph over life-threatening conditions.

"The competitors are truly inspiring. They have already won the race to live, but are now celebrating being alive to race."

INFORMATION: For further information on how to register on the NHS Organ Donor Register visit www.uktransplant.org.uk or call 0845 60 60 400. For further information on the 16th World Transplant Games visit www.16thworldtransplantgame.com.

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