A special fundraising event has been held at a Burnham-On-Sea pub to enable a local athlete to represent Great Britain at the World Transplant Games in Australia.
The fun day was held at The Lighthouse Pub in Burnham-On-Sea on Saturday (February 4th) for Keeleigh John, who has family in Bridgwater and Burnham.
She was 12 years old when she had life-saving surgery to replace her liver and kidneys and was diagnosed with chronic renal failure following a trip to hospital for dental surgery.
Now 24 years old, she has won gold at two British Transplant Games. She has competed in 11 British Transplant Games so far, and competed in her first European Transplant and Dialysis Games last year.
Ms John now hopes to enter the World Transplant Games in Australia this April, which is an event promoting organ donation. However she needs to raise £4,000 to cover the costs of transport and accomodation.
She says: “If you are prepared to accept an organ, you should be prepared to donate one. Not a lot of people think like that but actually you don’t need [organs] when you’ve passed on. Without those people making that decision, I certainly wouldn’t be sat here today.”
Ms John said she was not into sports at school but since participating at the British Transplant Games she had competed in shot put, discus, archery and running. When she initially attended the games, she said she had not planned on participating in the sporting events.
“It was to see the people that have, over time, become more like family than friends,” she said. “I sort of gave it a go – some things failed drastically but over time I found some things that I’m quite good at.”
Saturday’s event in Burnham-On-Sea was very well supported – she thanked the Lighthouse Pub, plus Burnham Bike Knights, Tom Guest for doing a sponsored leg shave, Hillview Carnival Club and all those who had attended for their “generous support.”
Keeleigh’s fundraising has gained support from the local community. Bridgwater Football Club also hopes to hold a charity football match at the end of the season. Also see her GoFundMe fundraising page.