A NINE-year-old girl who had a liver transplant three years ago is raising awareness of the importance of organ donation by taking part in next month’s British Transplant Games.

Lydia Mellen, of Shirley Road, York, intends to run and swim in the eight to tens category, as part of the Leeds Little Livers team, the liver unit at St James’s Hospital. Lydia is raising £300 to enter the event in a sponsored cycle ride on August 2 with her father, Richard, in which she’s also being supported by her school, Carr Junior School.

Lydia was born with a chronic liver disease.

“Her liver slowly, but steadily stopped working,” said her mother Sam Mellen. “We got her through the first seven years with the help of medication, but in June 2007 doctors found three cancerous spots on her liver and we decided it was time to get her on the list.”

Sam said they were “very lucky” because she only had to wait four days for a new liver.

“Otherwise she wouldn’t have survived,” she said.

Sam is backing The Press’s Lifesavers Campaign, which urges people to sign up to be an organ donor. I have been on the register from the age of 18 because if I thought if I could be of use to save somebody else’s life I would want to do it,” she said.

“With Lydia it has been brought much closer to home. If somebody hadn’t made that decision on such a terrible day we wouldn’t have her. If a little bit of good can come out of a horrible accident it’s all to the good. If people are thinking about it they need to get the information and go and make that decision,” she said.

Sam said Lydia would never be completely well, but she supported her efforts to give something back to the cause which saved her life. “She needs to live life to the full and if that’s what she wants to do, we back her 100 per cent.”

The Transplant Games take place in Bath from August 19 to 22.