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Girl, 11, who 'rapidly went downhill' before emergency liver transplant is helping other sick children

By Lucy Marshall

An 11-year-old who's health went "rapidly down hill" before she needed emergency surgery, wants to help other children who are battling illnesses like hers.

Honey Gray, was treated at Leeds Children's Hospital in 2019 after her health deteriorated within the space of a week. The schoolgirl, who is from Lowick in Northumberland, was just eight when she became jaundiced and needed emergency surgery.

After several tests she was seen by a liver specialist doctor in the Clarendon Wing of the Leeds hospital, where it was suspected she could have Wilson's Disease - causing excess copper to be stored in the body and leads to body poisoning. Honey was put on medication, but her liver was too damaged for this to work so she was put on the transplant list for a new liver.

Read more: Heartbroken family of Scott Wilson, 29, killed in e-scooter tragedy say he 'deserved to live a long, happy life'

Days later, she underwent transplant surgery and has now fully recovered. But the brave little girl now wants to help other children who need transplants.

In August of 2021 she completed a fundraising event for The Sick Children's Trust to say thank you to them for their 'Home from Home' support while she was ill. Her mum Deborah said: "For a lot of the time Honey was in hospital I was able to stay by her bedside but Eckersley House made sure my partner Duncan could also be with us.

Honey Gray had liver transplant surgery when she was eight. The now 11-year-old, who is fully recovered, wants to help other children who are going through the same and is taking on an epic challenge to do so (Handout)

"When Honey was moved to the paediatric intensive care unit after her operation I could no longer sleep on the ward, but I was able to stay at the ‘Home from Home’ too and never be far away from her."

And this year, Honey is joining the British Transplant Games, hosted by Leeds Children's Transplant Team on July 28 for four days. The team is an inspiring group of over 40 children and young people, aged from 2 up to 18, who have been the recipients of organ and bone marrow transplantation.

Honey will be conducting 100 star jumps, as well as a one mile run every day for 30 days in a row. She said: Honey said: "Due to Covid the Transplant games couldn't go ahead in 2020 or 2021 so this year will be the first time I have been able to attend.

Honey is going to be conducting 100 star jumps and a one mile run every day for 30 days to raise money for Leeds Hospitals Charity's Transplant Team (Handout)

"The games are taking place in Leeds and I am super excited to go and to meet other people who have also had transplants just like me. I am going to try and raise money and do 100 star jumps and walk a mile every day for 30 days."

A spokesperson for Leeds Children's Transplant Team said: "After years of illness and overcoming hurdles in life, it is fantastic to see their pride in taking part in competitive sporting events, social sporting events and celebrating their gift of life and their donors."

Honey's mum added: "Our family are really looking forward to going into the games. It's been a tough few years with Honey's illness and transplant, and the Covid hit - so having something to look forward to makes a change."

Leeds Hospitals Charity added: "Thanks to her efforts, Honey has absolutely smashed her initial target and raised £330 so far." To donate support Honey and the transplant team click here.

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