Rhys strikes gold at the British Transplant Games

GOSH patient at the 2016 Transplant Games
In 2009, Rhys contracted a virus which left him with severe heart damage and within five weeks he was put onto the transplant list. Incredibly a suitable heart was found just 24 hours later and he underwent a successful heart transplant here at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH). As a result of his operation, he is now able to compete in sport and has represented the GOSH Heart and Lung team at the British Transplant Games for the last few years.

The British Transplant Games are organised on behalf of Transplant Sport. Since 1978 it has grown into a four-day, annual event with over 800 transplant recipients – aged from 2 to over 80 – taking part in more than 20 different sports. The Games aim to promote organ donation and enable transplant recipients to achieve goals that were inconceivable before their transplants.

Rhys said, “I love coming to the games because I get to meet all the GOSH team and also all my other friends from other hospitals I have met over the years.”

This year, 14-year-old Rhys won gold in all his five swimming events and in celebration of this achievement he was also jointly awarded the Best Child Competitor for his age group.

Speaking about his achievement, Rhys said, “My best night ever was when I won the Best Child Competitor award, it was amazing walking up to get it, I’ll remember that night for a long time."

Rhys’ proud father, Neil, said: “It was great to catch up with old and new friends, and the most inspirational children you could meet. I am so proud of my son Rhys, who won five gold medals in all his events.

“To see this inspirational young man walk onto the podium to receive the Best Child Competitor Award was our proudest, and a very emotional, moment.”

The GOSH Heart and Lung team did really well across many of the events – winning 17 medals across archery, mini-tennis, badminton, and swimming events, plus they won the Best Children’s Heart Team Shield, which was a great end to the weekend.

When reflecting on the weekend, Rhys said, “I loved competing but also supporting all the other team members, we had a great time. I can’t wait for the next games.”

Find out more about the British Transplant Games here.