Portsmouth’s Charlie has the heart for Transplant Games

COMPETITOR Charlie Nash took part in the Transplant Games
COMPETITOR Charlie Nash took part in the Transplant Games

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SPRINTING down the track, Charlie Nash looks like any other sporting teenager.

But when the 13-year-old was six, she was one of the youngest people in the country to have a heart transplant.

Since then the St Edmund’s Catholic School, Arundel Street, Portsmouth, pupil has made the most of her new organ and this weekend she took part in her fourth British Transplant Games.

Charlie tackled the obstacle course, 100 metre sprint, ball throw and long jump.

She said: ‘I’m happy but a bit tired after the games.

‘I came second in the 100m heat and got in the final and just missed third place. My time was about 16 seconds.

‘I came fourth in the long jump too. So I’m looking forward to doing even better next year.

‘The Transplant Games is brilliant – I always love going to them. I feel good because I can show I am better now and I can represent the Great Ormond Street Hospital team.

‘I love playing sports at school and when my mum goes for a jog I join her.’

Charlie was born with a disease of the heart muscle called restrictive cardiomyopathy.

It caused her heart to beat irregularly and left her feeling tired and out of breath.

Her only hope was to have a transplant at Great Ormond Street Hospital, in London, as her condition worsened in 2006.

She now takes blood pressure medication and will have to take anti-rejection drugs for the rest of her life.

Charlie also needs to visit Southampton General Hospital and Great Ormond Street Hospital alternately every three months.

Despite this, she is determined to carry on with her sports and studies.

This year’s games were held in Kent.

The aim is to encourage transplant patients to regain fitness and confidence.

It also promotes friendship between individuals concerned with transplantation, while increasing public awareness of the value of organ donation.

Mum Lorraine, 41, and Charlie’s sisters Jasmine and Amy were at the games to cheer her on.

Lorraine, a team leader, of Jubilee Road, Southsea, said: ‘I’m very proud of her.

‘What I love about the games is you get to meet people that have donated.’

The charity Hearts for Kids takes Charlie and her friends to the games.

To donate email l_anash@hotmail.co.uk.