Wales

Transplant Games: Gold for youngest pancreas recipient

Sophie Washington ahead of her archery competition Image copyright Richard Hall
Image caption Sophie Washington, second from left, received a transplant aged 18 in 2014

Britain's youngest ever pancreas transplant recipient has won a gold medal at the British Transplant Games.

Sophie Washington, 23, from Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire, won gold for Wales in the archery.

"I still can't quite believe it. So, so happy," she said.

The games in Newport run until Sunday and will see almost 1,000 participants - some as young as three - taking part in 23 sports and events across the city.

Ms Washington received her new pancreas aged 18 in 2014, nine years after a diagnosis of type one diabetes.

Image copyright Richard Hall
Image caption Ms Washington was forced to miss her last two table tennis games because of a shoulder injury

At 15, she was the only person in the UK living on an intravenous insulin infusion 24 hours a day, seven days a week at home - a situation she lived with for 18 months.

She joined the transplant waiting list in 2012 and said she received a call 18 months later.

She said: "My mum got the call, just before midnight. She woke me up asking what I'd like for Christmas and I mumbled 'a new pancreas'.

"There was an overwhelming surge of emotions because while your dream is coming true, you know it's because another family are going through the worst time imaginable."

Unfortunately, the pancreas failed in 2017 but Ms Washington said she would always be grateful for the transplant.

She added: "I wouldn't be alive today without my donor and their family giving their consent.

"It gave me the time in which new technology and new treatments have caught up to where I need them to be."

Ms Washington is not currently on the waiting list but may need another transplant in future and said: "My health is not as bad as it was before the transplant, although I need a wheelchair and I have chronic pain, frequent spasms and non-epileptic seizures."

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