My name is Emma Wiltshire (that’s me on the left) and I am the fastest woman in the world to have received a life saving organ transplant. (The girl on the right is Emma (Hilton), another world champion, record holder and awesome athlete!)
Having competed at a national level in athletics for over 15 years, racing for the Midlands, England and Great Britain in the 100m, I was starting to wind down my running career. Whilst working as a massage therapist for Welsh Athletics in Portugal, I suffered acute liver failure and needed a life saving liver transplant. There were complications along the way, including transporting me in a critical state to the nearest transplant centre, finding a suitable match in time, and suffering an internal bleed meaning I lost 6 pints of blood. When I woke up from my coma, a week after the taxi ride into the Algarve hospital, I was in a crazy morphine world where I was vaguely aware of what had happened, and where I was. I spent the next month in intensive care in a Lisbon hospital, before being flown back to Birmingham Queen Elizabeth hospital by private air ambulance.
I spent a year rehabilitating back home in Cardiff, learning to run and starting to compete again before travelling to Argentina in August 2015 for the World Transplant Games. I competed in six events and came away with six gold medals and four world records in the 100m, 200m, long jump, high jump, 4 x 100m relay and 4 x 400m relay.
By 2016 I had been back training for almost 12 months, and I achieved my goal of competing at the UK Indoor Athletics Championships in the 60m, something I had taken for granted up until 2013, but as a transplantee, was unprecedented. I went on to compete outdoors and lowered my season’s best in the 100m to 12.1 seconds, a time which would have won in my age category at the 2015 World Transplant Games…in the men’s race!
In 2017 I achieved further success at the World Transplant Games in Malaga, coming away with four golds and two silver medals and improving my 100m championship best in the process.
I’m now looking forward to competing in the 2019 British Transplant Games in Newport, and the 2019 World Transplant Games in Newcastle.
I’m married to Gareth, who lectures at the University of Bath. We met at Loughborough when I was working for British Athletics, and while he was studying for his PhD at the University. A former Welsh international 400m hurdler himself, he’s my number 1 fan, and travels all over the UK (and world!) to watch me race. We currently live in Newport, South Wales, with our bundle of fluff, Alfie.
I work for British Athletics in the Paralympic Performance department, where I coordinate the logistics for disabled athletes competing for Great Britain and funded by the National Lottery. Outside of work my two biggest loves (apart from athletics of course) are food and travel. I’ve visited 50 countries (and counting), and could easily eat out at an amazing restaurant every day of the week (though sadly my bank balance doesn’t allow it and obesity may start calling!)