17th June 2019
At the age of 15 Callum Turner had a heart transplant which saved his life and gave him the chance to take up sport again.
Now, four years later, having become a table tennis ace, he is all set to represent Great Britain at the World Transplant Games being held in Newcastle this August.
Callum, 19, who lives in Rochford, has been helped to achieve his sporting dream with grants totalling £400 from the independent charitable trust, Essex Community Foundation (ECF).
He received £200 from the Ajvir Singh Sandhu Leadership Fund and £200 from the Essex and Southend Sports Charitable Fund, which are among the funds managed by ECF.
Callum said: “I am so grateful for these generous grants which are going towards my expenses to compete in the World Transplant Games.
“I have been poorly since birth, but always had a great passion for sport, particularly football. Being told I had to stop playing for my local team at the age of 11 due to my heart problems was devastating. Although I was unable to take part, my love of sport never stopped.
“My health deteriorated during my early teens resulting in me being added to the urgent heart transplant list in March 2015. I received my gift of life at Great Ormond Street Hospital four weeks later from a total stranger to whom I will be forever thankful.
“After the rollercoaster post-transplant world, I was able to complete my Level 1 and 2 BTEC in Active Sports and Leisure at Southend College. I am currently in my first year of the Level 3 course.
“During my breaks between lessons at college I found playing table tennis a way to pass the time and do something that I enjoyed, and I became quite good at it.
“As my health was getting better, I decided to enrol for the British Transplant Games in Birmingham last year. I competed in badminton, football and table tennis.
“I was not expecting much, just happy to be taking part and totally inspired by all the other transplant recipients at the games. To my surprise, I won Gold in the table tennis, which meant that I received an automatic place in the Transplant World Games this year. I am so pleased and honoured to represent Team Great Britain.
“Since the games in Birmingham I have joined my local table tennis club and am training and playing games against local clubs.
“I am really looking forward to competing in the British and World Transplant Games this year and continue to promote organ donation wherever I can.
“I have another year left on my BTEC Level 3 Sports course, after which I would really like to go into a coaching role with young children. I will also be playing in the Summer Table Tennis League and hope to get my ranking up.
Callum’s mum Donna Turner said: “The grant has really helped Callum fulfil his dream to compete and enjoy the sport he loves. He is very lucky to have received such great support.”
For more information about the grants ECF has avaliable to support individuals like Callum, please call the grants team on 01245 356018.