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UK Transplant Games Success for NCL Teacher

We are pleased to announce that Sophie Newman, our Director of Learning for PE and Vocational Education, has scooped four medals at the UK Transplant Games!  

In a remarkable display of resilience and determination, Sophie, who underwent a kidney transplant in 2021, claimed Gold in the 50m Breaststroke, Gold in the 50m Butterfly and Silver in the 50m front crawl. Sophie then moved from the pool and secured silver in the 400m running. 

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Sophie’s inspirational story began in 2012 when she was diagnosed with IGA nephropathy, a form of kidney disease, following a routine blood test at her doctors. At the time, Sophie’s kidney function was at 46% but she was able to live her normal life, which included swimming and going to the gym, whilst being monitored. This continued for 10 years until 2021 when her kidney function dropped to 15% and she was put on the transplant list. 

Fortunately, Sophie’s mum Sarah was a compatible donor, and she donated a kidney to her daughter. Sophie comments: “I feel really lucky, firstly that my kidney disease was spotted and secondly, that my mum was a compatible donor. When you have something like kidney failure, you don’t realise how poorly its making you feel, you just get on with it, so it was incredible how much better I felt so quickly after the operation!” 

Following her transplant and a period of recuperation, Sophie was approached by the captain of the Coventry and Warwickshire Transplant Team who let Sophie know about the Games. 

Sophie comments: “I was always a good swimmer in my youth and once I heard about the Games I was so determined to get back in the pool, regain my fitness and take part. The games are designed to show people the importance of being active after a transplant and can be a great route back into sport for many people. Some people at the games used to compete at a high level so it was a competitive field.” 

Following her success at the UK Transplant Games, Sophie has now qualified for the European games which take place in Portugal in 2024.  

The British Transplant Games have been running for over 40 years. Taking place in different host cities every summer, the games see teams from hospitals across the UK come together to compete in a medley of sports. This year’s 4-day event took place in Coventry and featured 57 teams, 332 competitors and over 2,000 people at the opening ceremony. 

Jane Brown, Principal at New College comments: “Sophie's incredible achievement has not only brought pride to New College Leicester but has also drawn attention to the importance of organ donation and living a healthy lifestyle, something we encourage all students to do. Because Sophie was such a fit and active person prior to having her transplant, she was able to recover quickly from it and get back to her life. We are all immensely proud of her and she is a fantastic role model to our children.” 

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