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Eight-year-old Shuswap girl gets her gold at Transplant Games

Megan Leverrier of Sorrento doesn’t let the past define her
Megan Leverrier takes a leap in the long jump which earned her a silver medal during a competition in the 2018 Canadian Transplant Games in Vancouver. (Claude Kihoza photo)

Megan Leverrier has been through a lot for a youngster, but none of it seems to stop her from living the life of a happy kid with a huge spirit.

Four years after receiving a successful liver transplant that saved her life, eight-year-old Megan Leverrier of Sorrento is going strong, taking part in the 2018 Canadian Transplant Games in Vancouver over the weekend of July 6 to 8, an athletic competition for people of all ages who have received organ transplants.

Megan was diagnosed with a rare tumour on her liver at age four and, after receiving a liver transplant at Sick Kids in Toronto, is now considered to be in remission.

Related: Megan undergoes liver transplant

Related: Megan thriving in the Shuswap

“She is having fun, she has just been kind of hanging out and checking out all the other activities that have been going on; they have a whole bunch of different things going on,” says Megan’s father, Jaimie Leverrier.

While the Transplant Games are meant to be a celebration of the fortitude and spirit of transplant recipients, and a reflection of all they have been through, Jaimie says Megan prefers not to focus on that side of her past.

“She is happy to just be a kid, and we do everything that we possibly can to make her life just like any other kid’s,” he says. “We encourage her not to think about that and to think about just having fun and doing kid stuff. She is very actively busy just doing her thing and I honestly don’t know if she spends a lot of time thinking about it, which sounds strange – we do as parents. I think she just sees it as like it’s all she has known.”

Megan also took part in the 2016 Canadian Transplant Games in Toronto, returning to the city where she received her transplant and getting a chance to visit and enjoy the city without the pressure of a hospital stay. At the 2016 Games she came away with a gold medal in the one-kilometre run, a silver in ball throw and long jump, and a bronze in the 50-metre dash.

In 2018, Megan took part in the ball throw, long jump and 50-metre dash events once again, taking home a gold in the ball throw and a silver in both long-jump and 50-metre dash.

Related: Cancer survivor gets gold

Her father notes that Megan is old enough now to decide for herself if she will return for the 2020 Games.

And with the soul of an artist rapidly blossoming in young Megan, that seems to be up in the air.

“She is more into artsy type stuff than she is athletics,” Jaimie says. “You name it, she does it! She draws and paints and sculpts and virtually anything; she loves colours, anything like that she loves to do. She was taking a bunch of art classes.”

The Canadian Transplant Games are held every two years in Canada, bringing together people from all across North America who have received organ transplants for a weekend of friendly competition and a celebration of their strong spirits.

Currently, more than 4,000 people in Canada are waiting to receive organ transplants. The organizers are hopeful the Canadian Transplant Games will encourage people to join in on the conversation.


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Megan Leverrier warms up before the ball throw competition during the 2018 Canadian Transplant Games in Vancouver. (Claude Kihoza photo)