Potters Bar woman takes on round-the-world challenge
PUBLISHED: 11:20 15 April 2011 | UPDATED: 11:30 15 April 2011
A POTTERS Bar woman, who cheated death, is taking part in a gruelling round-the-world yacht race.
Justine Laymond, who was just minutes from dying when she was giving the gift of life, is celebrating her remarkable return to fitness by joining the first ever transplantee crew on the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race.
The 38-year-old was dying when she was given a double-lung transplant in July 2006.
Now, in a bid to raise awareness of organ donation, she is joining a special team made up of 12 transplant patients, doctors and nurses, travelling 40,000 miles on a 68ft yacht.
Justine, from Byng Drive, has been selected for the final stage in the race for this truly once-in-a-lifetime feat.
Leg eight leaves New York before heading for Nova Scotia in Canada, Ireland, France and then home to the UK.
But for Justine this is not just a trip out to sea, this is a race.
She is getting herself physically fit, not easy when her breathing is occasionally troublesome, but also spending hours in the classroom and out on the waves in preparation.
Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail solo, non-stop around the world, and founder of the race, said: “The sea does not distinguish between Olympians or novices and if the Southern Ocean, the Pacific or the South Atlantic decides to throw down its gauntlet, the Clipper crews need to be ready to face exactly the same challenges as those experienced by the professional racer.
“With all boats identical and budgets equal, no one has a head start.
“Part of this challenge is that it is not easy – but then if it was, it wouldn’t present the truly tough times, nor provide the resultant great satisfaction.”
Justine said: “I still do struggle with my breathing sometimes, but I’m so excited about this challenge.
“My mum and dad were into yachting when I was a little girl, but I had no interest in sailing. Now I’m relishing it.
“For me this is the challenge of a lifetime.”
In order to take part in the race, which leaves the UK in August, Justine needs to raise around £15,000.
This week, she enlisted the help of Potters Bar businesses who donated raffle prizes for a fundraising lunch, held at the St John Ambulance HQ off The Walk.
Supported by parents Joanna and Barry and brother Spencer, she gave a speech about her journey from pain, lung collapses and a three-week coma to her eventual transplant and now inspirational commitment to help others on the transplant waiting list.
She added: “I’m so grateful to the community for supporting me for my Clipper 11-12 fundraising event, and appreciate the companies, shops and restaurants who donated raffle prizes.”
In total 41 companies have made donations, including many from Potters Bar, Brookmans Park and WGC.