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Kingswinford teenager who had life-saving operation comes back from World Transplant Games with four gold medals

A teenager from Kingswinford who had a life-saving operation as a youngster has won four gold medals at the World Transplant Games.

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Kristof Polgar with his four World Transplant Games medals

Kristof Polgar travelled to Perth, Australia, last month and proudly flew the flag for Great Britain at the 24th global event.

He returned a world champion taking titles in four events in his age group – tennis, badminton, squash and table tennis – with his performance earning him the prestigious ‘best overall junior athlete’ prize.

The 15-year-old also bagged a bronze in the men’s doubles table tennis event after standing in as a late replacement.

Kristof, who attends the Summerhill School in Kingswinford, had his life-saving liver transplant operation at Birmingham Children’s Hospital’s world-renowned specialist unit at the age of three.

It came after he was diagnosed with progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis (PFIC) – a disorder that causes progressive liver disease, which typically leads to liver failure.

Kristof Polgar at the World Transplant Games in Perth, Australia

Ahead of the procedure he was unable to walk, eat or drink but, since being given the ‘gift of life’ he has never looked back and has excelled – particularly in racquet sports.

He’s been a regular competitor at the British Transplant Games representing the children’s hospital and has a haul of more than 20 medals.

And he is now looking forward to the next event, his 10th, taking place in Coventry from July 27-30.

Kristof, who is hoping to have a career in sports psychology, was joined by his mum and dad, Erika and Csaba, as well as sister, Doroti, in Western Australia – a trip made possible thanks to the generosity of supporters who backed their fundraising efforts.

He joined more than 1,500 competitors from 45 countries at the games.

Kristof Polgar with his dad Csaba, sister Doroti and mum Erika

He said: “It was a long trip but it was great when we got there.

"I played against people from lots of countries, including France, South Africa and Australia across two or three rounds.

"It was tough but brilliant to come back with four golds in the end.”

The event, which ran from April 15-21, was Kristof’s second ‘worlds’ after he competed a little closer to home in Gateshead previously.

All of the family are passionate advocates for organ donation and have helped spread the message about its benefits across the media, including when they told the story of how they’d met and struck up a close band with Angie Land, the mother of Kristof’s donor, Justin.

Erika said: “It was such an inspiring event. Like the British Transplant Games, you just look around and see the amazing difference that transplantation makes.

"All possible because of organ donation.

“We are forever grateful to Angie and Justin, as well as to everyone at Birmingham Children’s Hospital who continue to care for Kristof.

"They do amazing things and it’s not just the doctors – there are so many people involved including the physiotherapists, dietitians and much more.

“The more people see stories like Kristof’s, the more they can become aware of the difference their decision to be an organ donor can make.

"It’s given my son a second chance in life but there are still so many people and families that don’t get that.

"If more sign up and share their thoughts with their loved ones, the greater chance that more can get the ‘gift of life’.”

It is estimated that more than 7,000 people are currently on a transplant waiting list in the UK.

To find out more about registering a decision about organ donation and sharing your wishes with loved ones visit

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