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08 August 2014

Just over a year after treatment, Ben prepares for the British Transplant Games

After being diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy, spending months receiving treatment at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children and receiving a heart transplant at Great Ormond Street Hospital, Ben Sporle is fighting fit, preparing for his first British Transplant Games.

In August 2012 Ben's parents were concerned when their son, who has severe learning difficulties and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), started presenting with symptoms of lethargy, sickness and a grey complexion. After x-rays at Great Western Hospital, Swindon, it was found Ben had an extremely enlarged heart. The next day, he was taken to Bristol Royal Hospital for Children where he was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy and urgently treated.  Ben received care in the paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) and was later transferred to Ward 32.

Despite coping on medication and returning to school in January 2013, Ben's condition deteriorated and he had to be readmitted to Bristol Children's Hospital. On readmission Ben's family were informed he would need a heart transplant and was put on the waiting list. Ben remained at the children's hospital in Bristol until the family received a phone call in Spring 2013, to say a heart donor was available. Ben was immediately transferred to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London where the transplant took place.  Since his transplant, Ben has received care from Great Ormond Street Hospital and will later return to Bristol children's hospital for follow ups.

Ben'sBritish transplant games 1 mother, Kerry Sporle said: "We can never thank all of the staff on PICU and Ward 32 enough for the amazing care they gave Ben and us as a family, they got us through some very difficult times and the hospital became are home for several months. Since his transplant, Ben has contacted the donor's family through Great Ormond Street Hospital and thanked them for this special gift. We know the transplant isn't a cure but more an extension of Ben's life and we hope he can live his life to the full but think sensibly. We recently celebrated Ben's 14th Birthday at Harry Potter World and had a great day walking round the set and flying on broomsticks."

This August Ben will be attending his first British Transplant Games hosted in Bolton. Ben's friends and family are very excited for this event and are helping him train at home. Ben will be entering the ball throw, long jump, running and obstacle race.

William Booth, clinical nurse manager on the paediatric intensive care unit at Bristol Royal Hospital for Children, where Ben was treated, said: "Following Ben's heart transplant he has made a remarkable recovery thanks to this precious gift of life from the donor family.  He is now able join in activities with his friends, back to being a normal little boy full of life and energy. We are delighted to hear he is participating in this event, we are very proud of his achievements and, along with his family and friends, wish him great success at the games'

Kerry said: "We are all looking forward to the games and don't know what to expect as this is our first time going. This is a huge achievement for Ben, who has come a long way since his heart transplant and we can't wait to be cheering him on."

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