Double lung transplantee sails across the Atlantic in yacht race
PUBLISHED: 15:41 23 August 2012
A POTTERS Bar woman has become the first double lung transplantee in the world to take part in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.
Justine Laymond has returned from the gruelling event in which she took part in the seven-week final leg of the race, leaving from the USA before heading to Canada, Ireland, Netherlands and eventually arriving at Southampton.
Justine, from Byng Drive, received a double lung transplant in July 2006 after suffering numerous lung collapses and was even in a coma for three weeks.
Thirty-nine-year-old Justine suffers from a rare lung disease called LAM, and is one of just 120 women in the UK with the disease.
But it hasn’t stopped her being an inspiration and taking on another life-changing experience, joining a team of fellow transplantees, surgeons and nurses.
She told the Welwyn Hatfield Times’ Potters Bar Edition: “We wanted to get a transplantee team together to be the first to compete in the Clipper Round the World Race.
“I love doing challenges and I love travelling, so it was a great opportunity for me.
“It is probably the most difficult thing I have ever done. I suffered with sickness, dehydration and malnutrition but I managed to set my laptop up to connect with the outside world and the support I was getting really kept me going.”
Having come through the double transplant, Justine had to pack 1,225 tablets to keep her healthy during the crossing and she admitted during her periods of sickness she began to worry.
She continued: “When we were going through the storms it was truly horrific and it was a worry for me when I was sick that I wasn’t keeping my medication down because I obviously needed my medication.
“But seeing all the sea life, the sunrise and sunset, meeting wonderful friends and the fact I made history as the first double lung transplantee to compete in the race in the world made it a truly wonderful experience.
“I want to be a transplant ambassador and I hope I can be an inspiration to others.”
Justine still needs to raise funds that her sponsorship didn’t cover and anyone wishing to donate to the LAM Action and Justine’s cause can do so at www.justgiving.com/justine-laymond1