Forget the tittle-tattle and focus on Nicole’s remarkable tale

Awe-inspiring: Nicole Mackenzie
Awe-inspiring: Nicole Mackenzie
Clive Smith says he would not like to arm wrestle athlete Caster Semenya 		Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

CLIVE SMITH: English pigs? Don’t bite the hand that feeds you

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The press may be gagged from reporting the misdemeanours of our sporting stars.

Fortunately, there aren’t any so-called ‘super-injunctions’ restricting us from relaying the amazing story of Nicole Mackenzie to our readers. Not yet anyway.

While some of the football heroes that fans such as Mackenzie look up to continue to hide behind the veil of secrecy afforded them by a change in privacy law, the 13-year-old from Purbrook is gearing up for the World Transplant Games in June.

And what a journey it has been for this remarkable girl to get to the Games in Sweden.

Her story starts at the age of three, when Mackenzie was diagnosed with double kidney failure.

Her family was told back then she would have to undergo a kidney transplant in her lifetime.

That moment arrived just over two years ago when she received her father’s kidney.

Yet that has done little to hold back her aspirations of sporting success.

Turning out for her local team Widbrook United was soon again on the agenda as she fought back from her surgery.

But that wasn’t enough for the gutsy Purbrook Park student. Not by a long stretch.

Mackenzie then decided it was time to take to the pool, too, and let her swimming talent come to the surface. She did that in awe-inspiring fashion at the British Transplant Games in Bath last August.

Mackenzie swam to a gold in the 25m freestyle with silvers following in the 25m breaststroke and freestyle relay.

There was more to come though, with further joy arriving in the run relay and tug of war.

Her success paved the way to the world event in Gothenburg and a link up with Portsmouth Northsea to gear up for competition.

That means a hectic schedule of training sessions in the pool and gym for the teenager.

But she can’t let down her football buddies and has continued to enjoy turning out for her team as well. Oh, and she plays for her school team.

In March, however, Mackenzie suffered a worrying setback when she lost a litre of blood from one of her kidneys.

She was rushed to hospital in London as the pain mounted and later underwent surgery at the Evelina Children’s Hospital.

It was a worrying moment for her and her parents.

Mackenzie’s recovery has been simply awe-inspiring, however.

At around the time one football household name was turning to his lawyer to stop his identity being revealed (unless you search for it on Google or social networking sites), Mackenzie was making her return to training in the pool and on the pitch.

Her period of recovery spanned around four weeks.

Now, she is fighting tooth and nail, with the support of Northsea, to raise the £3,500 she needs to compete in Sweden.

Mackenzie’s tale is a story which is as humbling as it is inspiring, especially when you meet her and her bubbly personality shines through.

Who really cares about the grubby tittle-tattle we can’t report about our sports stars, when we can revel in the heroics of Nicole?

To help Nicole Mackenzie raise the £3,500 she needs to compete at the World Transplant Games please visit