We first met Charlotte Archer-Gay at an after school Badminton club at Bower Park Academy in Romford, Essex where she was then a pupil. Charlotte had struggled with her health and became increasingly unwell having to endure hours of kidney dialysis. She was so unwell that she was told that she needed a kidney transplant. As her health deteriorated she had to stop all of her sport. After a long wait and many tests it was found that her father Phillip Gay was a perfect match. This was a very unusual situation as Charlotte and Phillip were in fact different blood types.
In February 2015 they both underwent the complicated transplant and donation procedure. Charlotte and her Dad spent many months recovering from the operation. As part of Charlotte’s rehab she was encouraged to take up sport again. She once again joined the after school Badminton Club at Bower Park. Charlotte was invited to take part in the British transplant games. This was held in Liverpool in June 2016. Charlotte won two golds medals there – one in the singles and one in the donor and recipient doubles with her dad. Trying to build up her fitness and skill levels Charlotte joined The Eagles Badminton Club. On the back of her success at British Transplant Games Charlotte was then selected to take place in the World transplant games in Malaga in July 2017. The Eagles Badminton club bought Charlotte a special badminton bag to wish her on her way.
Charlotte, who is now in the sixth form at the Campion School in Hornchurch, Essex had the ladies singles as her first event. In this competition Charlotte took the silver medal. The mixed doubles was next and unfortunately for Charlotte they came up against tough opponents and lost in the first round. Leaving her last event as the ladies doubles. Charlotte and her partner Kiera progressed through to the final and eventually took the gold medal. What a story, in just over two years Charlotte has gone from being so very poorly she was unable to do any sport to being a World Champion.
Charlotte returned from the competition buzzing, to hear her talking about people she had met from all over the world was just so inspiring. In fact she swapped kit with people from as far away as Korea and Singapore.
Charlotte retained her singles gold medal at the 2017 British Transplant games which was held in Lanarkshire, Scotland at the end of July. We look forward to hearing more good news about Charlotte and her future successes and to hear her inspirational story continue. After knowing Charlotte’s story it really does make you realise the importance of the donor register and shows what a difference this gift can make to people’s lives. To find out more about becoming an organ donor or joining the donor register go to www.organdonation.nhs.uk