Celebrating his second lease on life, Inverell’s William Latter came home from the Australian Transplant Games with a smile on his face and a gold medal around his neck last week.
At just William was the youngest lawn bowler to compete in the Games, which focus on the impact transplants make on recipients’ health, and encourages more Australians to sign up to the National Organ Donor Registry.
William wouldn’t be alive today if not for his own liver transplant at just four years old, made necessary by histiocytosis, a rare form of cancer.
“It was good,” he said of the Gold Coast-hosted competition. He said his favourite part was winning the gold medal in the singles 18-29 year-old division.
“I flogged him 15 nil and played him again and I got 15.”
RELATED STORY: William takes on the Transplant Games
“He was over the moon,” said his mum Bronwyn, who watched on the edge of her seat, alongside his whole family, including his grandparents, who were the first in the family to fall in love with the sport.
“It was amazing just to see him be able to play, competing with a NSW team. It was great to watch. From not knowing that he had a life before his transplant, to now seeing him playing bowls on the green,” she said.”
William paired with John Dawson, a Newcastle man who had received a double lung transplant in the doubles. The first two games were a struggle, but the pair finally came through with a win in their third and finale game.
“That was a great experience for him, playing with different age brackets and people having different transplants,” Bronwyn said.
William enjoyed meeting other people who had undergone transplants, and said he felt a special connection with them.
“He got to talk to them all. He loves it, fits in with them all.”
Bronwyn encouraged locals to sign up to Australian Organ Donor Registry, so they can have the opportunity to give someone like William a second chance at life.
“Until you’ve had a family member go through it, you don’t realise what an organ transplant would do for a family member,” she said.
William is keen to compete in the Australian Transplant Games once again, and hopes to take his skill even further, to the World Transplant Games.