Louise Wentworth, UK

Heart transplant – March 1993

Louise was born with multiple holes in her heart and until she was old enough to receive a transplant, the doctors had to keep re-patching her current heart. At four, she had her heart transplant.

Louise likes to play netball, basketball, practise gymnastics, and at school P.E. is her favourite subject at school. At TACKERS, Louise has enjoyed skiing, the snow and meeting new people.

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Rebecca Spain, UK

Heart transplant – June 2001

Rebecca (left) required a transplant due to an enlarged heart. Since her operation, she enjoys P.E., horse riding, swimming, going on roller coasters and walking her two dogs, Rosie and Sophie.

Rebecca has enjoyed skiing, being in the snow and dog sledging at camp. She finds the staff friendly and has enjoyed getting to know other children who have the same life experiences.

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Hannah Swift, UK

Heart transplant – October 1996

Hannah Swift, UK

Hannah Swift, UK

Hannah contracted cardiomiopathy and it was only three weeks from diagnosis to her transplant. Her transplant was successful, however she subsequently developed lymphoma, a blood cancer. She is now studying beauty therapy at college and likes swimming, clubbing and meeting up with her friends. In 2003, Hannah competed in the World Transplant Games where she won two silvers and a bronze medal in badminton, shot put and ball throwing.

Hannah has been actively involved with the media in talking about her experiences, having appeared on British television on GMTV and ‘The Salon’ programme and was also featured in the British teenage ‘Dare’ magazine. In 2002, the ‘Make a Wish’ charity made it possible for her to model with the girls from ‘Big Brother 2’ for ‘Cosmopolitan’ magazine.

Hannah finds TACKERS camp a positive experience as you can talk with people who have had the same experiences rather than being an individual who stands out at home.

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Kaylee Davidson, UK

Heart transplant – October 1987

Kaylee Davidson

Kaylee Davidson

Kaylee was the youngest baby in the UK to have a heart transplant. This was due to a virus attacking her heart. She is currently attending college and is studying performing arts, dancing and drama. She would eventually like to become a dance teacher. In her spare time, Kaylee enjoys dancing, socialising with friends, watching television and listening to music. In 2003, Kaylee participated in the World Transplant Games, which took place in Nancy, France. She competed in the 80 metres sprint, badminton, bowling and ball throwing. She achieved a silver medal in bowling and a bronze medal in badminton. Kaylee has now attended a TACKERS camp twice and has enjoyed improving her skiing skills and meeting other transplantees.

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Darren Mitchell, UK

Heart transplant – March 2000

Darren Mitchell, UK

Darren Mitchell, UK

Darren had not been well all his life and became suddenly sick when he was 12 years old when he had trouble keeping down any food. After some investigations, it was discovered that Darren was suffering from cardiomiopathy. Whilst Darren was waiting for his transplant, he could go to school part-time but could not participate in any of the school’s activities. He now enjoys playing football, rugby, golf and going fishing. The only thing he has been advised not to do is to go on roller coasters. At camp Darren has enjoyed learning new skills, such as skiing, snowshoe walking and skiing backwards! He believes that it is important to make people aware of organ donation, as donors are able to help someone else.

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Hannah Pudsey, UK

Heart Transplant – February 2001

Hannah Pudsey, UK

Hannah Pudsey, UK

Hannah had congenital heart problems and although she was able to go to school, she could not participate in any sport and was unable to walk very far. Hannah went back to school six months after her transplant. She is currently studying for her GCSEs and would like to go to college to study drama and become an actress. In her spare time, she likes to socialise with her friends. This was Hannah’s first time at camp and she enjoyed skiing, meeting and socialising with new people, and not being different from the other children.

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John Parsons, UK

Heart transplant – October 1994

John needed a heart transplant as he was suffering from cardiomiopathy heart disease and the most frustrating part of his experience was that he did not always know what was going on. Since his transplant, John has been well and has check-ups every three months. At school, his favourite subjects are art and P.E. His favourite hobby is playing and watching football and he supports Liverpool and Coventry. This was John’s first time at TACKERS’ camp and he has enjoyed skiing and has made it up to the top of the slopes on the mountains. John has made new friends and likes it that at the TACKERS’ camp nobody puts pressure on you and you can go at your own pace, as everybody is the same.

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Ajay McCellen, UK

Heart and lung transplant – Summer 2001

Ajay needed a heart and lung transplant as he had suffered from cystic fibrosis all of his life. He was unable to go to school and although he could sometimes ride his bike, he was unable to do anything else. After his transplant, Ajay took one year off before he went back to school. He now enjoys playing football, riding his bike, running and participating in P.E. at school. Ajay liked everything at camp and found the whole experience to be very funny. He says it is nice to do what you want and has enjoyed skiing, T-Shirt making, table tennis and wandering around the shops with his friends. Ajay’s attitude towards organ transplantation is that if the person has the opportunity, they should take it.

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David Goodman, South Africa

Kidney transplant – February 1999

David Goodman, South Africa

David Goodman, South Africa

David was born with only one kidney, which was in his pelvis. He only found this out when he was twelve years old, and unfortunately this was damaged having played contact sports, such as rugby and football all his life. He was put on dialysis for six months and although he could go to school, he was rarely there and could not do any sport. His mother kindly donated one of her kidneys and after 18 days, David was out of hospital and back at school six weeks later. He now enjoys skateboarding and surfing.

At camp, David liked snowboarding and hanging out with the counsellors. He believes it is good to see transplantees together and other children doing so well. In South Africa, transplantation on the black market is becoming a problem as few people are donating their organs, except for kidney donation within families. Additionally, poverty is an issue problem, as many citizens can neither afford nor have the medical aid or insurance and there is no state system.

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Delise Cassarino, Italy

Kidney transplant donated by her mother – February 2003

Delise Cassarino

Delise Cassarino

Delise had suffered cancer of one kidney when she was two years old and the other kidney when she was five and a half. After two years of dialysis and chemotherapy, Delise was put on the transplant list but her mother, father, grandmother and uncle were all willing to donate one of theirs. Delise’s mother, Romina, was told after many tests that she would be able to donate a kidney to her daughter.

Before her transplant, Delise was unable to run around, play tag, or ride her bike for a long period of time and could only attend school part-time. She was also very annoyed that she was not allowed to eat any chocolate!

Romina was able to leave the hospital five days after her operation and Delise was back at school after six weeks.

The best thing about having a transplant for Delise is being able to eat chocolate again and wee! At the weekend, Delise goes for theatre training where she spends three hours singing, dancing and practising drama. Six months after her transplant, Delise performed at the Palace Theatre in a Motown production. Delise also enjoys being able to swim without having to put on plastic bandages to cover her catheter tube.

When Delise grows up she would like to be a dentist in Italy as she has been told that they can make lots of money!!

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