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Cancer survivor gets gold

Recovery: Megan Leverrier joins in Canadian Transplant Games.
Going the distance: Megan Leverrier

She’s not at the Olympics, but no one could doubt that six-year-old Megan Leverrier has an Olympic-sized spirit.

And she’s now got medals to prove it.

Megan, who was diagnosed with cancer at age four and underwent a liver transplant at Sick Kids in Toronto, is now considered to be in remission. She recently marked the two-year anniversary of receiving her donated organ.

This summer, Megan attended the Canadian Transplant Games, which consists of athletic events for people of all ages who have received transplanted organs.

One of the youngest competitors, Megan won gold in the one-kilometre run, silver in the ball throw and long jump and bronze in the 50-metre dash. Megan also got to present her younger brother Gavin with a special medal for being such a supportive sibling.

“I look at my daughter with her new liver in her body and she is doing so great. It’s absolutely amazing,” says Megan’s mother Michelle. “She looks so healthy and happy.”

The family also took time to visit the hospital ward where she spent much of her young life and see the surgeon who performed her transplant.

“It was bittersweet visiting floor 6A, because there’s all the people there still waiting for their miracle and we have already had ours,” says Megan’s mother Michelle. “It was also a time to show Megan the Toronto she never got to see because the whole time we were there, it was lucky if she even got outside for a half-hour walk. So we did dinner at the CN Tower and Niagara Falls, in addition to the games.

“It was such a celebration to see all those people there, who have their stories of organ donation,” says Michelle. “It was also a celebration of all those donor families, who allowed all those people to be there with a second chance at life.”

The Canadian Transplant Games are held every two years in a different city in Canada, and Megan is already planning her events for the next one.

“She’s a total water baby, we can’t hardly keep her out of the water, so next time, instead of the run, she wants to do the swimming events.”

Megan will be heading back to Grade 2 in September and picking up some of her favourite hobbies, like hip-hop dancing and art. The family, including father Jaimie who is a Salmon Arm RCMP officer, must continue to travel to BC Children’s Hospital on a regular basis to monitor Megan’s condition.

The family remains grateful for the support of the people of the Shuswap, but has a message as well.

“We’d just really like to keep raising the awareness of the importance of organ donation. To see these people competing at the games, living their lives, it really is amazing. That could not happen without donors,” says Michelle.

For more information on becoming an organ donor, check out