A MUM from York who nearly died before she was given a life-saving heart transplant has triumphed in the British Heart Transplant Games.
Wendy Lingham, 35, from Clifton, was given only weeks to live and had even begun to plan for her own funeral due to suffering serious heart failure.
She had to make plans for her son, Joshua, now 11, and was saying her goodbyes to her family, before a suitable heart was suddenly found and the transplant carried out.
Three years on, Wendy has made a remarkable recovery and has now won medals in the British Transplant Games in Bolton - taking silver medals in the 5kmtime trial and 100 metre swimming and bronze in the 10km road race.
She said: "I absolutely loved taking part. It was scary because you are competing against others and some are world champions.
"I'm a lot more sporty now I have got my life back. Because I was diagnosed at the age of 23 and had just had a baby I was in no health to take part in anything. Getting involved in all this physical activity is almost like reliving my youth.
"The hardest part was battling with the heart failure and cardiomyopathy and all the complications that came with that afterwards. It's a nice way to give thanks to my donor by taking part."
Wendy will be taking part in the Heart of York Bike Ride for the third time in September with Team Freeman, a team of five people, four of whom have undergone life-saving organ transplants. The team was also recognised at the Games - winning the best heart and lung transplant team.
Senior care assistant Wendy discovered she had cardiomyopathy in 2002, four days after giving birth to her son Joshua, when her heart wasn’t pumping blood around her body properly, causing symptoms of heart failure including extreme breathlessness.
She was treated with medication, but developed heart rhythm problems, and was in and out of hospital. The disease eventually took its toll and in 2009 she ended up on life support after suffering a cardiac arrest.
In 2011, she had a heart transplant, which has completely transformed her life, and made her a campaigner for organ donation.
Hundreds of people who have had life-saving transplants took part in the British Transplant Games in Bolton.
Competitors took part in sports including archery, football, tennis and athletics over four days.
The games are held in a different location every year on behalf of the charity Transplant Sport UK.
Founded in 1978, they aim to encourage patients to regain fitness and champion the value of organ donation.