Kenilworth woman who survived two liver transplants is going for gold

After surviving two liver transplants five years ago, she will go for gold in the table tennis event
After surviving two liver transplants five years ago, she will go for gold in the table tennis event

A Kenilworth woman who survived two liver transplants is now set to compete as an athlete for Great Britain in the European Transplant Games next week.

Boryana Nankova, 56, a nurse at Kenilworth Grange care home, had to have a liver transplant five years ago despite being relatively fit and healthy.

Boryana Nankova is off to the European Transplant Games

Boryana Nankova is off to the European Transplant Games

Her body rejected the first liver, meaning she had to have a second transplant just three days later.

Boryana said she was fortunate to be alive, and encouraged everyone to join the organ donation register.

She added: "I realised that if my donor didn't have a donor card, I could be dead. I'm extremely lucky. Saying thank you to my donor just isn't enough.

"I just want everybody to tell everybody about how important organ donation is - anyone can be in the position I was in without any warning."

Now, five years on, Boryana will compete for the gold medal in women's table tennis at the European Transplant Games, to be held in Sardinia from Sunday June 17 to Sunday June 24. She has been training hard in preparation for the Games.

She said: "I can't really believe the position I'm in after the hell I had. It's hard to explain how I feel.

"It's like a second, or even a third, life for me."

Boryana will be joining more than 50 athletes in the Team GB squad, all of whom have had organ transplants.

Lynne Holt, from the UK charity Transplant Sport (TS) which supports Team Great Britain, said: “The athletes need to be at their peak of physical fitness to compete, clearly illustrating the benefits of organ transplantation.

"Many of our transplant athletes have experienced near death situations and long illness, and it is very gratifying to see them able to enjoy a full life, thanks to organ donation.

"All our athletes are gold medallists, in that they have all won their race for life. However, the true champions are those individuals that gave the gift of life, offering all these athletes their second chance to live.”