For two families who enjoy a special bond through the Gift of Life, this year’s British Transplant Games were extra special.
Kristof Polgar is one of the many Team BCH superstars who has won lots of medals thanks to his racquet sport skills but at the latest event his “donor mum”, Angie Land, joined his family in Newport to watch him add two golds and one silver to his collection.
Born with a rare genetic condition, Kristof, now aged 11, underwent a life-saving liver transplant operation carried out by the expert team at our Children’s Hospital when he was just two-years-old. The organ that saved his life came from Angie’s son, Justin, who sadly died aged 21.
Above: Kristof's donor, Justin
Angie recalled how at the most difficult of times she remembered a short conversation with her son a few months before. She explained:
“Justin came to me one day and told me that, should anything ever happen to him, he wanted to donate his organs to help others. At the time it was very out of the blue and I told him that’s fine, never ever imagining that one day we’d find ourselves in that position.
“When I was given the heart-breaking news that there was nothing more the team could do for Justin, I recalled our brief chat and told the nurse straight away of his wishes.”
A few weeks after his death she learned that her son had offered the precious gift of life to five people and, through the specialist nurse who supported her, she wrote to all of the families to share some information about the person Justin was.
Erika, Kristof’s mum, was one of those that wrote back, expressing her gratitude. Over the next few years both mothers stayed in touch via letter, email and Christmas cards with Erika updating Angie on her son’s progress.
Angie, who lives in Bath, eventually met Erika and Kristof in late 2016 after both deciding the timing felt right.
“Knowing that Justin has been able to help others has offered our family some comfort. It was lovely to hear how well Kristof was doing and in one message Erika mentioned that Kristof looked to the sky and asked what cloud she thought Justin was staying on. It was such an innocent comment, just so lovely.”
Angie has met the family on several occasions since but the games in Newport were the first time she had attended the annual event, along with her husband, Chris.
“It was just lovely to have them at the games. It’s such a special occasion; a real celebration of the power of organ donation. Our Children’s Hospital team is like a family and it was fitting to be able to welcome them to it.
“As a mother, there are no words to express how grateful I am, how grateful all the family is. We have said thank-you many times to Angie for agreeing to Justin’s wishes and offering us the gift of life. It just never seems enough.”
To find out more and register to be an organ donor visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk. Once registered, please remember to share your wishes with your loved ones.