Little Ava Taylor is literally throwing herself into this summer’s Transplant Games.

And the Golcar youngster is also planning on running and jumping to success – just 10 months after a life-saving liver transplant.

The six-year-old underwent a nine-hour operation at Leeds General Infirmary after doctors advised it was her best chance of leading a normal life after she was born with a very rare enzyme deficiency in her liver which could have killed her.

Now her family are thanking the unknown donor who saved Ava and encouraging others to get involved as part of Transplant Week, which starts on Monday.

At just seven months, Ava was diagnosed with Ornithine Transcarbamylase (OTC) deficiency which means her body builds up dangerous levels of ammonia and need constant monitoring.

The call-up for the operation came just two days after her mum had been tested and given the all-clear as a match.

Her mum, Caroline, a staff nurse in the intensive care unit at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, knew from early on that her daughter wasn’t developing the same way her older brother, Freddie, had and repeatedly went to her GP knowing something was wrong.

Eventually the condition was diagnosed during a visit to hospital and just before her fifth birthday Caroline was given the choice of whether she wanted her daughter to join the waiting list for a transplant.

Caroline said: “It was difficult as I had a choice. We could have carried on monitoring everything Ava ate and watching her so closely but she didn’t have the quality of life I wanted for my daughter. In the end I decided the risk had to be taken for Ava.”

Jumping for joy - transplant girl Ava Taylor and her brother Freddie
 

The family only know Ava’s donor was a 20-year-old man and at the start of the Transplant Games in Bolton on August 7 there will be a lap on honour in all of the donors’ memories. She is one of the Leeds Little Livers team – all children who have undergone transplants.

The family hope that soon Ava’s feeding tube into her stomach will be removed and the Transplant Games is the biggest sign yet their little girl is well on the road to recovery.

Caroline adds: “She is a bright, little six-year-old and we can all look forward to her having a proper childhood now.

“Now she is learning more quickly and down the line she will be able to do normal little girl things like go to tea at her friends and live a normal life.

“The donor has changed all our lives for the better. It is impossible to over-estimate how grateful all our family are.”

The family have written a thank-you letter to the transplant team and hope to hear eventually from the donor’s family.

Throughout the family have been supported by The Liver Foundation and through the charity CLIMB – Children Living with Inherited Metabollic condition.

To enter the games Caroline is trying to raise £350. She is also running the Great North Run in September to raise fund for Leeds Little Livers.

This interview and the one on Wednesday with Olivia Glennie’s parents were provided by the Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust to promote Transplant Week Spell It Out Campaign 2014 to encourage local people to join the organ donor register and to share their wishes with their families.

To find out more visit www.chft.nhs.uk, www.transplantweek.org or www.organdonation.nhs.uk

To support Caroline go to www.justgiving.com/caroline-winkley3/

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