FOR most athletes standing on the podium to receive a medal for your country would be a time to reflect on how years of hard training had paid off.

But for champion World Transplant Games athlete Beth Morris, aged 17, it is a time when she thinks of her anonymous bone marrow donor who has given her the gift of life.

She said: “I think about my donor a lot. Obviously I don’t know what his name is or what he looks like but a couple of times when I have been on the podium and I am getting my medal I thought, if it wasn’t for my donor I wouldn’t be standing here.”

Pendleton College student Beth, from Radcliffe, is backing NHS Blood and Transplant’s National Transplant Week which runs until Sunday.

Beth was diagnosed with leukaemia when she was 17 months old. But in 2002, aged just five, she received a life-saving bone marrow transplant from a man in Germany.

Her parents Jeremy and Janet were told she had just a 30 per cent chance of surviving without a transplant.

She made a full recovery and at the end of the month she will be flying to South Africa to compete for Great Britain in swimming and cycling in the World Transplant Games. She will compete in seven events and hopes to be as successful as she was in the last games in Australia in 2009 when she walked away with six gold medals and broke five world records. She said: “There’s people awaiting transplants who are at the Transplant Games to support you and they are really poorly and you walk away and think maybe they won’t be alive next year.

“When I am competing it is quite heart-warming think-ing that all of these competitors are there because people have given something to those they don’t know, have never met and never will. I think it’s lovely that people do such a selfless thing for others.”

Beth, who is studying for her A Levels, urged people to tell their loved ones of their wishes to donate organs.

She said: “People think there are other things that need to come first before signing the organ register or speaking to their family about their wishes but for transplant recipients there’s nothing more important – it’s a gift of life, you can’t ask for a better gift. It doesn’t take much time and by just having a donor card you could save seven lives.”

She said she has achieved amazing things since receiving the transplant including travelling to Australia to compete.

She said: “Because of my stunted growth I would never have a chance of swimming or cycling but because I had a transplant I can. I don’t think people should be downtrodden because of what they have been through. I am trying to show what you can still do.”

Beth wanted to thank everyone for helping her to raise the funds to travel to South Africa, including Radcliffe Rotary Club, Radcliffe Women’s Inner Wheel and Turton Rotary Club. She will be joined by her own team of supporters, her parents, sister Rachel, aged 14, and her grandmother and grand-father.

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