Super swimmer James Jenkins is celebrating after scooping five medals at the British Transplant Games in Newport. The 12 year old from Worcester has always been keen on sport, despite being born with the rare liver disease, biliary atresia, and receiving a life-saving liver transplant when he was just 11 months old.
“It was a really tough time for us when James was so poorly as a baby,” says his mum Maria. “We were so scared of the future and what it would hold for him and we would have given anything to see how is now.
“As James has got older, he has been able to meet other young people in his situation through Children’s Liver Disease Foundation and through taking part in Transplant Games. It was wonderful to see so many children competing and having a great time, knowing what they have all been through. James loves taking part in the Games although he wasn’t expecting to win anything this year so to come home with five medals for swimming is a real bonus!”
“It was great fun,” adds James. “The 25 and 50 freestyle were my favourite races and I won gold medals for those. I got two silvers and a bronze too for breaststroke, back stroke and the relay was really exciting. I was a bit surprised to do so well because I went up to the 12-14 year group. The best bit for me though is hanging out with my mates!”
Alison Taylor, Chief Executive of Children’s Liver Disease Foundation, who have provided information and support to James’ family commented: “A diagnosis of childhood liver disease is a shattering one for any family so to see stories like James’ gives other families real hope. We are so glad he enjoyed the Games and really proud of his success.”
For more information on CLDF visit childliverdisease.org.