If you have been following this blog from the beginning, or know the inspiration behind my work, you will know that I was hugely inspired by an installation of work by Tim Wainwright and John Wynne, a photographer and sound artist, who worked as artists in residence among the transplant patients at Harefiled Hospital for a year. You can see more about this work on their website here I came across their exhibition through a postcard with the image below on the front. I still have this card displayed above my desk. These legs belong to Justine. The legs above are also hers, three years later and after a double lung transplant saved her life. With Jusine's legs hanging on my wall, it was lovely to be able to meet the rest of her at last. She is an amazing wonder woman and a fantastic inspiration to all those out there waiting for transplants. Justine was so ill that she had 15 lung collapses and onse spent 4 weeks on life support and had to re-learn how to walk with a zima-frame. Now she is in serious training for her third British Transplant Games with high hopes of qualifying for the European and Worlds.
Above image taken from 'Transplant' http://http//www.thetransplantlog.com/
Justine had the rare lung condition lymphangioleiomomatosis - LAM for short. She was on oxygen 24 hours a day and was dependent on a wheelchair. You can read more about her on her blog here and can even watch a very moving video on You-tube here
Justine practising digging to pick up speed coming off the corners on the track
I passed all the building works for the 2012 Olympics in Stratford on my way to meet and photograph Justine in training at The Chelmsford Sports and Athletics Centre. Huge thanks are owed to them for letting me follow her around for a morning and snap away. Justine is every bit as commited to her training as those hoping to appear in the stadium being built down the road. She runs, long jumps, plays badminton, has gym sessions and works with a personal trainer. The transplant games are much more than a nice excuse to meet fellow transplantees, although that is an important element of them. There are athletes all over the country traing hard to win medals and opportunities to represent the UK at European and World level.
Justine working hard in the gym
I had a fantastic morning with Justine and, again, finished with a lovely lunch in a pub. I could really get used to this and have made yet another new friend who I hope to spend more time with. I will get an opportunity in a few weeks as we are also going to the transplant games. William is making his debut in the 25 metre 'run', ball throw and obstacle course. For him, it is all about fun and for us all to meet other families, many of whom we have already 'met' on facebook and other forums. I am looking forward to being able to cheer Justine on in her many events and to take some more photographs of her, hopefully on her way to winning medals. I am also looking forward to that drink in the bar we promised each other. Justine really is a total inspiration and a fantastic example of the difference a transplant can make. I really hope her dreams come true. I can't think of anyone who deserves it better and few things would make me more happy than being at the side of the track in August, watching her sprint towards that place in the World Transplant Games. Go Justine!!!