A Northampton woman who had a heart and lung transplant 12 years ago is set to take part in her first ever sporting competition.
Natasha Rogers is taking part in three sports in the British Transplant Games, which start today in Sheffield.
Natasha, aged 38, of Leafields, Wakes Meadow, Northampton, will compete in the tenpin bowling, mini marathon and cricket ball throwing for Team Harefield.
Natasha had her operation on June 26, 2001 – one of only nine transplants of its kind in the UK that year.
She was in hospital for 13 weeks after the operation, but was eventually able to return home and live a life she was only able to dream of before.
Natasha, whose story has been featured in the Chronicle & Echo since she was a child, said: “I am very excited. I’ve been going to the gym, which I started about three years ago, and I’ve started jogging, but I’ve not done any competitive sport. I’m looking forward to taking part in something I’ve not been able to do before.
“I will do my best, but I don’t expect to win a medal just yet.
“I had never heard of the games until about three years ago, as it’s not really advertised anywhere.
“Now it is getting closer and closer, I am feeling quite emotional.”
Natasha will be supported at the games this weekend by her proud parents, Graham and Ann.
Mr Rogers said: “There are people going from all over the world who we are in touch with on Facebook. I can’t wait to see them, and see their loved ones taking part.
“Natasha is under no illusions about the games. She is well aware of her limitations and ability. Winning events would be lovely, but the important thing for her is that she is alive, thanks to the selfless gift from a family who, at a sad time for them, decided to donate the organs of their loved one.”
Mrs Rogers said: “The main idea is to advertise transplantation, and show what people can achieve. Natasha can do things now she could never, ever do before.”
Seventy teams will take part in venues including Ponds Forge and the Don Valley Stadium. Once the competitive action is over, the Rogers family will be enjoying a gala dinner on Sunday, which will be attended by 1,500 people.
Natasha says she is already thinking about competing again next year if she enjoys her experience.