An Inspiration To Us All…

I’d like to introduce a truly inspirational lady who after surviving a double lung transplant back in 2006 and many difficult months in the following years has shown true grit and determination in life.

Say hello to Justine Laymond, who recently returned from the transplant games with a haul of medals to boot. Read her fantastic games diary below…

GOLD!! (Norway+Sweden) thrills

No matter what happens to me…this will always be History/Legacy for me & worth every battle I fought along the way!! Organ Donation IS a wonderful thing!! Not a’s the time to do it, thanks xx

Sign the Organ Donor Register Here

All glammed up here, and the photo actually taken from the last night in Sweden (gala night). Here I am proud to be alive and represent GB in the Transplant Games for heart and lung transplantees across Europe.

Friday 25th June

I was up 3.30am, although my alarm was set for 4am….excitement kept me buzzing through my whole day of travels to reach my first destination, Lillehammer in Norway. For some reason even though I set off in plenty of time to the airport, there was a long queue for baggage drop..and a rush to get to gate 59 in time. I walked past ‘Pret a Manger’ leaving behind a cafe latte I was desiring and a scrummy sandwich to have on the plane for brekky.

So…hungry and flustered and finally onboard….here I was, all set to GO GO!!

I arrived on Oslo Torp Airport and had a 2 hour wait for my train, then a 4 hour train ride to Lillehammer. To meet up with the lovely Nina (who I met at the Euro games in ’08). My first meal was Mexican Tacos – yum!! Then out to walk their dog who is diabetic!! For 45mins around the woods/houses. By 10pm (9pm UK time) I was totally zonked! zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Saturday 26th June

Good Morning Norway – Jussie is ready for day 2!

Amazing brekky with fruit, Gubrandsdalsost (caramel cheese), and then onto a museum, Norsk Jern Banemuseum based from the ice age – to modern living today in Norway. Amazing to learn about culture of previous times and see actual people (hired) to live and demonstrate how they lived in schools, farms, houses from rich to poor quarters. An insight from 1800’s to 1900’s.

Then next to Helvete – Mountain of Hell!

I had no idea what I was letting myself into……..all seemed straight forward…..simple…walk down a mountain. Oh nooooooo…..simple to start with stairs leading the way down with protective barriers. Then, onto the rocks – climbing, balancing on loose stones..large…small….my body formed all shapes to get over each rock. It was a little adventure and fabulous getting to the bottom seeing the waterfalls through the mountain, and getting wet walking over a slippery ladder at one point to explore further higher up.

I have to say, that I was actually exhausted and returning upwards was much harder. Getting breathless in parts and using my hands to climb over all the rocks. I knew what it felt like to be a dog moving about on my hands and knees and even though I struggled in parts, I truly LOVED this experience! AWESOME!! And when I finally reached the top, I recieved my Helvete Certificate “you have survived a return trip to Hell”.

Then in the evening, here we are (Nina and I) at a wonderful complex where people can board and view the stunning views of Lillehammer, whilst eating the BEST Thai cuisine. Click on the link below to view this wonderful place, I truly recommend this as a place to stay! Strand Mountain Lodge

Sunday 27th June

Last day in Lillehammer and then onto Sandvick to stay with Truls and Hilde. But first, they kindly travelled to where I was staying with Nina and Olav, and we all spent the day together. It was non-stop adventure all day 🙂

1st stop to an art gallery, right up my street with all abstract and funky pieces of art. Then onto an Olympic Museum – detailing history of the sports over the years, which was very interesting. They were also selling medals……my Norwegian friends were offering them to me. The only snag, that they were chocolate! Haha…but I said…no…..want the real things when I get to the Transplant Games.

Then onwards into a cable car up a mountain with breath-taking views and back down….a short drive to another destination to have lunch on another mountain top.

Time to rest yet? Oh no, next trip to Olympia Parken:- chair lift and entrance to the ski jump tower and a simulator experience. I tell you what, I have never screamed so much in the simulator experience to that demonstrating a professional ski person and in a Bobsleigh. In comparison, the bobsleigh wasn’t that bad…..but I know I could never be a professional skier. I was actually quite frightened, and screaming so much – I was actually crying. I wanted to press the emergency stop button, but, didn’t want to ruin it for my friends. However, I practically fell out of the simulator afterwards, feeling rather yellow…and my curly hair somewhat frazzled!! After a while, the shock wore off, and I was ready for my next adrenalin rush 😉

And that was a chair lift to the top of a ski jump tower, and instead of the cable car down, decided to walk all 954 steps to the bottom! But, after all my mountain climbing the day before, my legs were hurting a little and about halfway down, I started limping. Oops….no one could save me, so slowly and exhausted in pain, I made my way down. Many stops to get my breath back too – as all this was tiring on my lungs. Not only that, I was getting shaky leg spasms making it harder to go down each step..what a mess I was,lol. But, I was delighted to finally have “touch down..Jussie has landed”.

Nina was filming me (which I was unaware) and we said it could be posted on You Tube, but that people would get bored – and look for a fast forward button, to see me actually walk down the steps quickly and not step, stop, step, stop!

So, shattered and tired, a 2.5 hour journey now to get to Sandvick…..but, I couldn’t rest in the car journey, and was non-stop talking……….hahahaa……do I ever really take a breath?

Monday 28th June
My last day in Norway, and to spend the day in Oslo..yippy!! It wasn’t quite as successful for a little time, as I fell ill and that was from some food I ate on the day. The downside to taking so many medications, is that some foods may not agree with my body and normally this reacts in me almost immediately.

Putting that aside, I was very happy to finally meet, Thomas a friend I’d never met,but chatted with through Facebook for 3 years, who lived near to Oslo and came out to meet me and Truls for part of the day. We all went to the Opera House for coffee, then a walk around the fortress of Norway..then lunch all together.

Then my ‘little blip’ and time to wave goodbye to Oslo and rest up, until I felt better again. Within a few hours, I felt better and not wanting to waste any time, went out again! This time, to a large shopping centre to check out the Norwegian fashion……a girl MUST shop!!

Then after that, onto a famous sculptor park – which was pretty cool. You may have noticed that I am wearing a T-Shirt (and Truls) that says, “Cystic Fibrosis..Get if Off Your Chest” and I was wearing this to help raise CF awareness whilst in Norway + Sweden. For an amazing lady, called Lorraine Barnes who does so much for this lung disease, and her two boys also have CF. CF T-shirt link look here please,thanks


Tuesday 29th June

Wakey Wakey……time to go to Sweden and travel with the Norwegian Transplant team via coach. I arrived 8am in Oslo and finally arrived in Vaxjo, Sweden at 5pm. Many laughs along the way travelling with all the Norwegians – and thanks for letting me gatecrash your coach ride 😉

It was a long day on the coach and great to finally get to Sweden and meet up with a few other British team members/family/friends and enjoy a chilled meal in our hotel. Bedtime.

Here with new friends made from Norway, Elizabeth (left) and Yina (right).


Wednesday 30th June
Today was the first main day, the Opening Parade of the European Heart & Lung Transplant Games through Vaxjo. A total of 22 European Countries competing :- Belgium, Greece, Norway, Sweden, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Great Britain, Ireland, Netherlands, Romania, Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia & Switzerland!!!


So off we all took over this little city in Sweden and paraded our own country flags, cheering from the crowds coming out to watch and clap as we past. Such an amazing buzz + atmosphere and hard to describe that in words….but it was electric!! 🙂

We Rock!!! Great Britain!!

A representative from each of the 22 European Countries on the stage, with their country’s flag.

Thursday 1st July

Today a free day for me and a nice stroll around the city Of Vaxjo and a look at the beautiful cathedral. A little bit of shopping also taking in the glorious rays. Ahhh blissful day – simples 🙂

Friday 2nd July

Being an athlete is not fun when your alarm wakes you up at 6.25am, I thought I was on a holiday 😉 Today, the day of the Badminton doubles and single competitions….oooer. Healthy brekky , shower, sports gear on – thanks to my sponsors at Anglia Inspection Services

I was feeling a combination of nerves, shaking, excitement and all over the place with emotions. I guess a good feeling as it’s not every day you get to compete like this. I played against women from:- Netherlands, Sweden and Finland. At one point, in badminton doubles my breathing was quite bad…and the opponent said to me, “will your breathing get any better?” I said “no”…then she continued to thrash me – taking gold and leaving me with a still very content – Silver medal.

It was an enjoyable day, and I remember advice from one of my coaches saying…’take your time to get your breath back and do whatever you need to do’ (Steve Williams – Squash coach). To which, I had many water ‘sip’ stops and when it was my turn to serve….I inhaled very deeply quite a few times….to everyone else, it may looked as if I was just focusing..hahaha (yes and no).

And, I got silver in badminton singles 🙂

Here is the Great Britain badminton team 🙂


Saturday 3rd July

So, today another “me” day and I had booked myself on a walking tour within the town, and was out for about 2 hours. By the end, I was feeling slightly frazzled by the heat and my curly hair – became a mass of afro sizzling! The weather was amazingly SO HOT and after my walking tour, I returned to my home and completely konked out!!!

I didn’t want to do too much after that, as tomorrow was my BIG day for all the main athetics that I was competing in. So, an early night on the agenda……ZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzz

Sunday 4th July

THIS IS IT!!!!!!!!! Yikes….gulp…more nerves…more excitement…deep breath…breathe Jussie breathe …come on!!!!

Today, I was competing in


100 4xrelay race


long jump

I cannot express really on here, how emotional I was feeling. Every day for me and any transplantee is a bonus and one that I relish. I do not dwell on any doom or getting ill again or rejection (though, I would be lying if I said it didn’t frighten me sometimes). But, I do still get blips along the way (especially recently in February…but a fighter I am…and I will always fight to live!!). Yer baby!! 🙂

All, I have trained and worked up for – this was really it!! Gulp. My first event, was the 100m sprint against 8 other girls. My heart was beating like a zillion miles per hour and on the bang of the gun…….I ran like never before. Determined to do well and I did – wow!! Got a PB (personal best) in my time of 18.07 seconds and that is about 2 seconds faster over the years. Just before, I left for the games, I was able to run this in 18.56. So….I was gobsmacked I sprinted even faster. I came joint 3rd (bronze) with Jan another girl from Great Britain (who had a heart transplant).

But, when I go and compete in the British Games in August…I will competing against her…ooooooooHHHhhhhh

It may not seem fast or a big deal to you,but with 60% lung function still – I am well happy with that achievement. I must also stress, it’s not all about winning…as I’ve said many times before…being ALIVE is the real medal!! But, hey…..I’m not complaining getting some bling along the way..tee hee.

400m sprint……geesh this is really hard for me, so I just jogged 300m and Jan actually said to me about then “how are you doing” me “breathless” and I was puffing away as best as I could. Then, I don’t know what overcame me as Jan and another girl were ahead of me. I just wanted to give it one last push

ROARrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!! and I pushed my lungs and ran my heart out and lungs and whooshed past Jan to take silver. Flip……inhale….inhale…..breathe…….after a while I was ok again. Then long jump and I took GOLD!! WOW!! My first ever gold medal in 4 years! Happy days 🙂 And the relay race team – to which we took Silver.

That’s it…over and was I!! But, no time to chill, as needed to get ready for our last night in Sweden to eat,drink, and be merry!! Woohoo!!

Here I am in a funny shape after one long jump attempt..haha

Bronze in 100m sprint with Jan too

The GB athletics team 🙂

The GB team with family & friends too, love this group shot of us all 🙂

And here I am with Jade an overall champ and who had a heart transplant at just the age of 3!!

Monday 5th July

Goodbye Sweden…goodbye heart & lung games (until 2012).

Home sweet Home journey to begin the next set of transplant games…… August (19th-22nd) for all transplantees (not just heart & lungs) that recently competed with – but the kidneys,livers etc… I love them all 🙂

I hope I haven’t bored you all with my lengthly blog….it has taken me weeks to do and choose the best pics to tell the story…..peace,happiness & smiles to everyone.

Thanks Justine and why not check out her blog @

Cheers Gaffers

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: