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Poetic tribute to form part of opening ceremony

The British Transplant Games opens in Coventry on July 27th. It’s always a special occasion seeing so many competitors brought together by the gift of organ donation. This year’s opening  ceremony will be particularly special for CLDF as one of our families is playing a key role.

Eighteen year old Doroti , sister of Kristof 15,  who will be taking part in the Games, is a talented writer who has written a beautiful and moving poem as a tribute to Kristof’s donor, Justin.

Doroti has shared the poem with Justin’s family who are happy for it to be widely shared and we are so delighted and proud that Doroti will be reading her poem at the Games opening ceremony on Thursday.

Thank you Doroti for shining a light on the impact of childhood liver disease on siblings and for taking the time to pay a wonderful tribute to someone who gave the ultimate gift.

Here is her poem:



Dear Justin, I thought about you today.

I think about you every day.

Yet it feels strange to know that we’ve never met and never will.

At least not in this world. Not whilst I’m still around on Earth.

Every time I think of you, everything stands still.


Dear Justin, I’m writing to tell you that my brother was only a few months old when he became ill.

He couldn’t eat, drink or even sleep.

“This medicine will make him better,”

“sorry it didn’t work, we’re trying our best,”

“biopsy next weekend,” “maybe it’d be better to lay him to rest.”

“I gave him the food, but he’s thrown it up again,”

and repeat, and repeat, and repeat.

My parents moved us overseas as we couldn’t accept defeat –

there had to be a way for him to live.

If only the odds had seen his smiling eyes,

the bright little mind and loving heart in the way that we all did.


Dear Justin, we arrived at our new home at the end of March:

we lived on the tenth floor of a flat overlooking the hospital;

the place where they told us he would need a new organ to live.

That a new organ is something only somebody else can give.


Dear Justin, he waited for the call with the phone grasped between his small fingers.

The glass table which we sat around reflected his jaundiced eyes like a mirror.

We waited. The phone slept by his bedside.

We waited. The phone sat by us in the daytime.

We waited some more. And more.

We waited. And the phone rang.

My parents grabbed the bags that were already packed and said goodbye but came back the next day for it wasn’t a match.

We waited. The phone slept by mum’s bedside.

We waited. The phone sat by her desk in the daytime.

We waited some more. And more.

We waited. And the phone rang.

My parents rushed from work and I was rushed from school to say goodbye, but they came back again for it wasn’t a match.

We waited. The phone slept.

We waited. The phone sat.

We thought of the sadness another would have to go through for him to receive his gift.

We dreamt about the new life his gift could bring.

And we waited some more. A week. Two weeks.

And the phone rang for the third time approaching February’s third week.

My parents grabbed the bags that were already packed, said goodbye but didn’t come back the next day for it was a match.

It was the night you had gone to heaven and given him a second chance.


Dear Justin, his eyes turned from jaundiced to white in a matter of days

and we celebrated his third birthday.

Candles weren’t allowed on the ward

and he couldn’t yet eat cake,

so we bought him a teddy and decorated his bedside with banners for the special day.



Dear Justin, he started to stare out of the window each night,

asking which star you are. If you are even a star at all?

Maybe a cloud in the shape of a smile or a heart,

or even the whole sky when the sun is out.

He asked if you’re watching him,

he asked if you are proud.

He asked: “why is it that he had to die because of me?”

And I know that if you could, you would have answered this, so I answered him: ‘he didn’t die because of you. He died and chose to give his gift to you.’


Dear Justin, my mum wrote a letter to your family.

She began writing even though she didn’t know how to start it.

She said ‘thank you’ didn’t seem enough,

so she filled the letter with photos and

all the things he can now do and dream of.

Your mum sent a letter back a few months after,

along with a portrait a friend of hers had drawn of you and him sat side by side.


Dear Justin, we told him all that your mum had said about you.

We told him your name, and gave him the portrait of you together in an orange frame.

He wanted to hug you. He wanted to meet you.

But we told him that we can’t in this world.

Not whilst we’re still around on Earth.

So he built a teddy, gave it a heart, named it Justin, and hugged it every day and every night.

He still dreamed about meeting you,

but we knew that meeting your family would be the closest thing to that dream coming true.


Dear Justin, we met your family on a day in early December.

Your mum told us stories about you.

She told him your favourite colour was blue,

and he smiled because that was his favourite colour too.


Dear Justin,

Today marks twelve years since you went to heaven.

Today we celebrate twelve years since his gift – as he blows out the candles of the cake my mum stayed up all night to make,

as we light the candle to remember you today –

I think back to the day your family took us to your favourite place…


From the shape of the leaves to the way the wind blows,

To the hope with which these trees grow,

The freedom with which the butterflies sing temporary goodbye,

And the endless life of your favourite-coloured sky.

From the way our feet fall into your footprints,

To your favourite bench on which we sit –

I see a piece of you living in everything…



[Twenty-one second silence in honour of the twenty-one years Justin lived]


Dear Justin,

Twenty-one feels long when you

stand through every second of it in silence.

I wonder how it felt to live through it in your silence.


I wonder if you know how loved you are.

I wonder if you know much you are missed.

I wonder if you know how much he cares for your gift.


Dear Justin, people may say that it’s impossible

to have memories of someone you’ve never met,

but I want memories of you.

I want to remember you.

We are remembering you for what we know is true:


that even when life no longer brought you light,

you raised your voice to allow your light

to bring life to someone else.

That you chose for your last gift on Earth to be the gift of life


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