Liver transplant athlete heads to patient games

editorial image

Liver transplant patient Cath Whitworth is set to compete in her fifth World Transplant Games this month in Malaga, Spain.

Ms Whitworth, 53, from Halifax, has competed in the last four games.

She first entered the swimming event at the British games in 2000 while an inpatient at Leeds Teaching hospitals.

She has since competed in France, Thailand, Australia and Sweden after been selected to join the British team in 2003.

This June will see her compete in the 200 metre, 400 metre, 100 metre freestyle, 200 metre indvidual medley and the 50 metre butterfly events. She has won more than 50 medals in total.

Ms Whitworth, who works as a nurse for the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Trust, said the games were a great way to celebrate life.

“You feel part of a wider family. There’s a huge range of ages who attend, including an 81 year-old man also from Leeds,” she said.

Her liver was transplanted 18 years ago after she was diagnosed with the disease Primary Biliary Cholangitis (PBC) in 1993.

She was on the transplant list for five days when a donor was found after doctors gave her a year to live unless she got a new liver.

She stil sees transplant doctors regularly to make sure her new liver is healthy.

Ms Whitworth said she is not the competitve type despite winning five gold medals at her most recent national event.

“It’s more about competing against myself. I just want to do the best I can and try to improve every time,” she said.

Ms Whitworth will join over 200 transplant athletes competing for Team Great Britain against 1,000 other athletes from 60 countries.