A Teesside athlete, who survived cancer thanks to a lifesaving stem cell transplant, has scooped four medals for team GB at The World Transplant Games in Perth, Western Australia.
Lindsey Blackburn, 38, from Middlesbrough, won gold medals in the 5k road race and as part of the GB women’s team that posted the best overall time; a silver in the 1,500 metres and a bronze in the team triathlon – achieving incredible world level success, following gold medals at The British and European Transplant Games, last year.
She has thanked developer Linden Homes, for continued sponsorship which has enabled her to fine tune her preparations for all three events – and helping her to fulfil her Aussie gold dream.
“I have fantastic support from my club and coaches, but the sponsorship meant I could invest more into my training. Having the most appropriate kit, access to the best facilities and ensuring I was benefiting from the right nutrition, helped me to make small – but vital – gains over the competition. The events are self-funded, so not having to worry about finances has been a huge help also.
“The games were fantastic and I’m delighted with my performance. It is hard to describe how inspiring and emotional the opening ceremony was, seeing so many people from around the world – who are all still here due to transplants. It brought home how important this area of medical science is and it was wonderful to make so many new friends and connections. This, as much as my sporting achievements, will live with me for ever.”
It was in 2008, at the age of 22, that Lindsey was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma – a type of blood cancer. Following numerous treatments, the cancer returned – three times in total – and she was eventually told that a stem cell transplant offered her the best chance of a cure.
Lindsey had the transplant in 2011, followed by a lengthy recovery period. She was completely discharged from hospital in 2019 and it was around this time that she discovered she was eligible to compete in the British Transplant Games.
She continues: “I had always been fit and very active. After treatment, it was a long road to recovery – at times, I didn’t even have the energy to make a cup of tea.
“Running and the goal of taking part in competitions gave me the focus I needed to help aid my recovery; build my fitness and show the world that there is life after cancer – thanks to the wonders of stem cell donation.”
In 2021, Lindsey purchased a property at Linden Homes’ Bracken Grange development, in Middlesbrough – and it was through this house move that she was able to share her story with the developer and secure its support.
This helped Lindsey prepare for last year’s British Transplant Games, where she won gold in the 3k road race, then a step up to the European Transplant Games, in Oxford, where she also won gold – this time in the 5k road race. This secured Lindsey the call up to the GB team for the World Transplant Games.
Dave Brown, Managing Director with Linden Homes in the North East, said: “We are delighted for Lindsey that her commitment and dedication has been rewarded at the very highest level. Firstly, to fight back from such a serious condition – and then to continually improve and take her sporting performance up level after level – is an inspiration.
“We are so happy that our sponsorship has played a big part in helping her achieve her goals and to bring back an amazing haul of medals – for the UK, the North East and Teesside! Well done, Lindsey!”
Linden Homes is currently selling on five sites in the North East – including Kirkleatham Green, near Redcar and Bracken Grange, in Middlesbrough, on Teesside.
Lindsey has also enjoyed additional support form The Teesside Family Foundation and Unison, Cleveland Police Branch.
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