Sprinter Reuben, three, leads medal haul of Yorkshire youngsters given ‘gift of life’

A speedy Yorkshire youngster has joined a team of young people who owe their lives to organ donation in celebrating their haul of medals from the British Transplant Games.

Reuben Gerard, three, with his bronze medal for the 25m sprint at the recent British Transplant Games. Picture by Gary Longbottom.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust’s (LTH) 38-strong team of transplant patients from all over the county brought home 57 medals as well as its first Liver Cup for the best performing team of liver transplant patients.

The games, which took place in Newcastle and Gateshead earlier this month, saw 700 recipients of transplants take on a series of track and field events.

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Reuben Gerard, three, from Goole, was Leeds’ youngest competitor, winning the bronze medal in the 25m sprint.

Reuben Gerard, three, shows off his running speed. Picture by Gary Longbottom.

His mum Beth Kinder, 28, said he was severely jaundiced at birth. It later emerged that he had biliary agenesis, meaning his liver had no bile ducts. The rare condition meant he needed a transplant and was given 20 per cent of his grandmother’s liver.

“He’s doing very well, I don’t know where he gets all his energy from,” Ms Kinder said. “You don’t realise until you go through it yourself how many people are out there who need transplants.”

LTH is urging people to sign the NHS Organ Donor Register as part of the YP-backed Be A Hero campaign.

The campaign was launched after it emerged that just 29 Leeds families donated organs last year as 800 people in Yorkshire await lifesaving transplants.

Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust's team of transplant recipients and their supporters celebrate their British Transplant Games success. Picture by Gary Longbottom.

Lisa Beaumont, LTH team volunteer, said: “It’s the gift of life. That’s why we want people to share their wishes.”