I am Sam Griffiths.I am 14 years old.I was born at the North Staffordshire Hospital and to begin with all appeared to be fine. However, at 6 hours old the Doctor noticed I was slightly blue. I was immediately hooked up to a ventilator and was taken to Birmingham Children’s Hospital where they confirmed I had a rare and complex congenital heart defect. At one day old I had a cardiac catheter procedure and at two days old I had my first open heart surgery.
The next 8 months were spent in and out of hospital due to problems with heart function, related illness's and most dominantly my inability to thrive. At around 8/9 months old I had my second open heart surgery. I came through the operation but had a cardiac arrest that night.
I then continued to be in and out of hospital, and not long after my 2nd birthday I was rushed in due to heart failure. I deteriorated further and on Christmas day I was sent down to intensive care and my family were told to say goodbye. The next day I was still fighting. A week later on New Year’s Day the same thing happened and I was back on the ward with my family being told that I would need a new heart as soon as possible. At this point I was put on a new experimental drug.
I was taken down to Gt. Ormond Street Hospital in London and was put on the waiting list. I went back home after a month and began to thrive and improve so my family made the decision to take me off the waiting list as we had heard nothing of a new heart at that stage.
However, I continued to have various problems over the next few years, some serious and some not so serious, with another open heart surgery being performed but failing. During this time I also underwent many minor operations.
In March 2008 we went to Birmingham Children’s Hospital for a routine appointment to be told I would have to stay as the scan of my heart showed the heart function had gotten a lot worse. My family knew this would mean Transplant, but Birmingham Children’s Hospital wanted to try and fix a leaking valve a second time as it was this that was causing major problems. I had a metallic valve implanted and for the first 24 hours it seemed successful, unfortunately the operation put me into complete heart block, the electrical signals of the heart were all misfiring, so 3 weeks later I had a pacemaker fitted. The valve leak had not improved.
I never properly recovered from the last hospital stint and subsequently was re admitted to Birmingham Children’s Hospital and I went through Transplant assessment, this time at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle-on-Tyne. Having spend 2 more months in Birmingham, deteriorating rapidly, at midnight on the 7th of July we got the call we'd been waiting for and I was rushed to Freeman’s Hospital where I undertook a full heart transplant. The transplant was a success and I'm thankful to my donor family every single day!!!
3 weeks after transplant I returned home and the first thing I wanted to do was to learn to swim! I couldn't be in the water for more than 5 minutes before without needing oxygen!! I could finally float around in the water for as long as I wanted and stay nice and pink!!!!!
With all the incredible medical support and the love and support of my family, especially my lovely Mum, Dad, sisters and brother, I am now enjoying my life, and especially my swimming! I train at least 3 times a week with my experienced Swim coach (my Dad!).
I have competed in the British transplant games in swimming for 5 years for my wonderful FREEMAN CHILDRENS team and have won lots of medals!! Most recently this year I competed in Bolton and won 5 Gold medals as well as winning the 'Best child' in the 12-14 age group trophy. I not only can be like a normal child now but through my hard work and determination I am achieving things that never seemed possible! This includes all my school work I've caught up on at Madeley high school in Cheshire where I am now working at the same level as my peers!
Because of my achievements in Bolton and the hard work I've put in in swimming I have had the honour of being selected in representing my country at the World Transplant Games in Argentina in 2015.
This is the second time I have been selected to represent Great Britain in the World Transplant Games and I am extremely proud!! I went to South Africa in 2013 and won 4 Gold medals, 1 Silver medal and smashed 2 world records!!!
We need to raise money to get myself and my family to Argentina in 2015!!! My family have always been by my side through the bad times I need them with me to celebrate the good and positive!!!!
I think my story proves that no matter what odds may be stacked against you and however many times you want to give up you have to be brave and try!! Anything is possible!!!
I would greatly appreciate any help and support in getting us all to Argentina!! I'm currently training hard to hopefully bring home more gold!!
Most importantly if you haven't already, please sign up to the organ donor register!!! I was given the gift of life and I'm making every second count!!
I am a very very lucky lad!!!!!!
Thank you for visiting my just giving site.
The monies that are being raised are to enable sam and his family to attend WTG.
I am raising money to cover expenses associated with attending the World Transplant Games in Argentina. Any surplus funds will go towards the Transplant sport UK management team (including physics and coaches) who give up their time to support the team.