A woman who made a
miraculous recovery after a heart operation has scooped three medals at the transplant games in France this month.
Suzanne Swinson (61), who has lived in Bearsden for over 20 years, went hillwalking regularly before doctors told her that she had advanced heart failure in 2008, when she was only 55.
At first she didn’t believe the diagnosis because she felt perfectly healthy - the only reason she’d visited her GP was because she had a cough.
However, three years later her condition was so bad that she was unable to walk more than 100 yards without stopping and relied on a balloon pump to maintain the beat of her heart.
She was placed on the transplant waiting list and within six weeks she was admitted to hospital as a donor was found.
After her life-saving operation in 2011 she has fought her way back to fitness by climbing hills, walking and going to the gym most days at the Allander Leisure centre.
She also began skiing lessons with a professional coach, Rachel Eastwood, last March.
Initially her aim was just to get down a course but as she improved she wanted a bigger challenge and decided to take part in the world winter transplant games in La Chapelle d’Abondance, Haute-Savoie, in France.
Suzanne, who is married with two grown up sons, won silver medals for giant slalom and slalom, bronze for parallel slalom and her team was also awarded silver for slalom.
Her team (she was the skip) also scooped gold for curling at the event.
Suzanne, who practised skiing several times a week prior to the games, said: “I’m absolutely lost for words.
“I just expected to take part but to get medals for the British team was fantastic.
“It was an honour to be part of the games and the whole transplant community from around the world.
“Everyone had an inspirational story to tell, from youngsters with kidney transplants, people with lung transplants and someone else who had a heart transplant from Australia.
“I never imagined that I’d ever be back to this level of fitness.
“I’d like to thank the wonderful staff at The Golden Jubilee Hospital and my donor who gave me the gift of life.
“Without them I wouldn’t be here and have done the games.”
There were 12 members of the British team and between them they brought home five gold, eight silver and five bronze medals.