Lerwick lass Zoe Buchanan is delighted to have bagged two medals at this year’s British Transplant Games.
Eighteen-year-old Zoe was competing in the 18-29 category and won gold in the badminton doubles with Gemma Wardle from the Leeds adults team.
Zoe, originally from Edinburgh, was competing for the Edinburgh adults squad. She also scooped a silver medal in the table tennis singles – losing out in the final 17-15 and 14-12.
This year’s games in Bolton were the biggest ever, she said, and the 18-29 group was a large category, with competitors having much more experience than herself.
“It’s such a great achievement. I didn’t think it was going to do very well at all. To come out with two medals … it’s phenomenal”.
“I was incredibly shocked,” she added.
“I just went more to see my friends that I’ve made. We call it our transplant family because everybody is so close at the games.”
Zoe had a kidney transplant after her kidneys failed at the age of 13. Her mother Jill Bentley donated her kidney and since then she has gone on to compete at a number of events.
She was born weighing only three pounds 13 ounces and was diagnosed with a genetic condition called Russel Silver Syndrome, which affected her growth and mobility and caused an asymmetry in her organs.
With one kidney three times larger than the other, and only 33 per cent function between them, she showed great determination in fighting her condition and competing in sports including badminton, football and table tennis.
Bolton was Zoe’s fourth British Transplant Games and she has also competed in the World Transplant Games in South Africa.
The main point of the British Transplant Games is to raise the profile of organ donation, she said and make people aware that they can donate their organs.
“ A lot of people are becoming aware because the games are becoming bigger and stronger. It’s really trying to raise the organ donation profile more than anything else.”
Since having the transplant, Zoe says she’s been able to be more like a normal 18-year-old girl.
“I’m not attached to a dialysis machine every night, I’m able to go out and just do what normal people do,” she added.
And Zoe has her eye on the NatWest Island Games next year as well as the next British Transplant Games held in Newcastle. “It’s a really great experience every single year,” said Zoe of the British competition.