World Transplant Games { 31 images } Created 7 Jul 2011

"You can photograph my scars if you like," says Leslie, "this one is my favourite." She turns her back and looks over her shoulder towards a tennis ball sized patch of shiny puckered flesh just above her shoulder blade. Her white tennis skirt reveals petite, athletic legs spattered with more deep scars, their uncalculated pattern as destructive and attractive as a Sarejevo rose. Magnolia scar tissue throws a deep contrast against the flourecsent aquamarine wall of the badminton club. Leslie leans against the wall relaxing. "In some places the disease ate my flesh down to the bone," she says.

At eight years old Leslie was admitted to Texas Children's Hospital with a worsening case of bacterial meningitis. Her father was told that she may die, then later that she'd loose limbs, be left brain damaged and blind. She endured a month long drug induced coma that stabilised her condition and months of hallucinations when she finally awoke. "I thought my mother was a monster, I could feel needles raining down into me from the ceiling," she says.

Leslie's menigitis left her with damaged kidneys, over ten years they slowly failed, "I could feel myself dying," she says as she looks at her scarred feet, "I was being sick constantly." In 2009, her father donated one of his kidneys. "It's now very difficult to think of Christmas presents for him," she says.

Leslie's slender body pushes her yellow badminton racket above her head. She reaches for the shuttlecock that's sailing over the net, her feet leave the floor as she makes contact and continues the rally. Today Leslie is competing in the World Transplant Games in Gothenburg, Sweden alongside two other patients of the Texas Children's Hospital, Ryan Flores and Carson Kainer. The annual event draws over 1,500 transplant patients, their donors and families from around 70 countries, celebrating life, shared experience and the generosity of organ donation.
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