IN SEPTEMBER 2012 a North Wales-based lady golfer received a new liver that saved her life with just 48 hours to spare. Last month she won her third golfing gold medal at the World Transplant Games in Australia!
The remarkable to story of Ruthin Pwllglas member Brenda Roberts began in 1992 when, aged just 39, she was diagnosed with Primary Biliary Cirrhosis – a chronic disease in which the bile ducts in the liver are slowly destroyed.
In 2012, just hours before her own liver would have given up completely, she received a successful transplant at St James’ Teaching Hospital in Leeds.
A keen golfer, with a then single figure handicap, Brenda soon got involved in the British Transplant Games and within three years she had won the first of her gold medals at the 2015 Games in Argentina. She won gold again in Malaga in 2017 and silver in Newcastle in 2019.
At the latest Games in Perth, the now 13-handicapper was one of only five Welsh athletes taking part in a Great Britain and Northern Ireland team of 123. She was one of the eight golfers in the British team that competed on the Wembley Golf Course in the Western Australian city.
In the closest possible finish, she won the female band one gold on a countback from South African Heilie Uys and Germany’s Chantal Bausch.
Brenda, who lives in Ruthin, was accompanied by her partner Gwyn at the event. She said: “This latest win ranks as one of the best in my golfing achievements. I am not getting any younger, now 70, so each time the pressure to win seems greater. I knew everyone back home was rooting for me, which adds to the pressure. To come half way across the world and not win anything would have been very disappointing.
“I was very proud to represent my country and promote organ donation and the success of transplantation. “I made a full recovery and there is nothing I can’t do that I did before. If anything I am healthier!”
Brenda, who started playing golf in 1975 after her tennis days came to an end due to an injury, explained: “The ladies of Ruthin Pwllglas welcomed me in the club and I have been a member there ever since.”
The World Transplant Games, which works in partnership with the charity Transplant Sport, represents the largest organ donor awareness event in the world, featuring a week of 19 sporting events. Team Great Britain and NI joined more than 1,000 other transplant athletes and live donors from 50 countries across the globe.
Speaking to us while still in Perth, Brenda added: “None of the above would have happened if it hadn’t been for my donor and family. Promoting organ donation is close to my heart and here at the Games I am surrounded by fellow transplantees all with their own story to tell.”