Jussie sails with Clipper 11-12

Jussie sails with Clipper 11-12
I sailed the last leg (8) in 2012 - USA,Nova Scotia,Ireland,Netherlands & UK. Travelling 4,000 miles, approx 22 days at sea, with 4 races in this leg.

Thursday, 25 June 2015


Hello and Happy New Year 2015!!! I was meant to publish this journal before the year ended in 2014 from my Australian Transplant Games trip. However, life took over and time flew by and here I am now updating last bits ready to post to you all now. Apologies and happy reading in the meantime.

Back in the UK, after what now seems like some crazy dream after a long time waiting for this special trip. So full of great memories, many highs and new experiences, making new friends, and feeling very blessed and humbled being alive.

The build up to my departure was a mixed one full of emotions of OMG I'm going to the other side of the world!!! Excitement seeing existing friends and competing in the Australian Transplant Games as an international guest. I was also anxious for the flight being two long haul flights, but, I took it all in my stride as the morning of my flight I was like no backing out now.

Prior to departure I was dealing with chest infections and adapting to taking nebulisers morning and night to which I feel ok doing now long term. Packing and working out all my other daily medications, the reality was now upon me. I also had a dodgy stomach too - probably nerves or the usual side effects of one of my immuno suppressants. 

Farewells done, on the plane......Wooooooo take off and first stop being Hong Kong! 

I arrived in Hong Kong feeling dazed, tired, and somewhat buzzing just being this far! I would love to have time exploring the far east (on my to do still ;). So, fast forward and now I have arrived at Melbourne to which Kevin kindly collected me and I finally met up with Sandra where we staying for a few days. Then afterwards, sharing with other girls in an apartment. 

I stayed up taking until the early hours - still jet lagged, but finally thought I must sleep! When I look back, I probably didn't sleep properly until about 7-10 days - jet lagged and just too excited to do all and everything and see many sites in-between competitions.

The following day I explored Melbourne walking aimlessly until I hit a brick wall - welcome to the feeling of jet lag! Oh my, it felt like I couldn't walk another step and I needed to sit down, gather myself before I knew I had to head back and try crash out for a short while.

The following days were that of registering for the events I was taking part in and a walk through Federation Square to meet with the rest of the competitors, supporters and donor families. We all had orange T-shirts saying the word, Thank you. Being thanks to our donors, it was quite humbling parading as a mass of orange and for people to stop, look, ask what was happening. The media were there too - covering this remarkable event.

With Gail and Irene

Then the following day, it was the opening ceremony of all the hospitals in Australia and other countries to walk into the stadium for the beginning of the transplant games. It was a very humbling experience and always is, whenever the start of any transplant games back home or abroad.  A time to be proud and stand tall and let people around witness the get together by lives saves from passed loved ones.

I have never seen before - something representing donors who has lost loved ones by a ceremony letting go of butterflies. A group formed in a circle and some lovely words said, then each person released a butterfly into the air. So beautiful to watch and many many tears flowed. This really got to me and seeing a young boy cry doing this...made me wonder who he lost in his family.

The same day also was that of a donor fun/walk. I got confused and thought it was the 3k fast walk that I was doing. It was such a hot day almost a struggle in the heat walking round. I did wonder why people running too and was told it doesn't matter what you do. Just have fun :)

I found out a few days later, that I had actually got bronze the in the 3k fun run event, happy days. And the 3k fast walk was on the last day I was competing in - the athletics day.

With Gill and Duncan

Hanging out also the Brit boys

So after an amazing few days getting in to the Aussie way of life, it was time for me to crash and wake up ready Monday morning for my first competition. Monday morning was for lawn bowls singles. A great sunny day and plenty of competition. It is also nice to be able to do a sport and not get breathless. Technique is involved and a lot of patience and tactic to win against opposing players. I first played this at the World Transplant Games in South Africa (2013) whereby with no experience won bronze. And to my delight I won Gold here!! Wow! 

With Kelly

I met many lovely people whilst competing in the singles and team (pair) games. On my days off I would either watch other competitors and/or utilize my free time to explore the sights.

Wednesday Melbourne Zoo
A much needed trip to the local zoo and very enjoyable. I like animals and wanted to make sure I saw some koala bears!

Thursday Aquarium

The aquarium was a fun trip and I tried to capture photos that summed up the experience for me. I probably had around 2,000 photos (when returning home), so finding just a few for my blog was not easy ;)

I love seahorses and it was great to see so many of them here at the aquarium.

Friday athletics

Here I am with the lovely Oz girls all ready before our competitions today. A big day ahead for me;- shot put, discus, 3k fast walk  and 100m sprint, phew!

Bu I also ended up doing the 4 x 100m relay race too. It seemed so fast, one event after the other. So, no sooner had I sat down (if that) had a quick drink - change of shoes for whatever event competing in...time to go again. Phew! The day went by very quick as you can imagine and the heat was over whelming too!

1k fast walk in action

more sprint girls :)

A moment I was able to sit and smile for the camera ;)
relay sprint team

And here's a shot put I made earlier ;)

Check that out.....

Getting ready at the 100m sprint line

On your marks, get set, GO!!!!!! And I'm off

Whoop I got bronze in the 100m! :)
My results for the day are as below

shot put - bronze 5.11 metres
3k fast walk - gold
100m sprint - bronze 17.62 seconds
discus - silver 15.03 metres
100 4 x relay - nothing - but we are winners still as alive :)

The evening as a pub dinner and drinks - then bed. Exhausted and very much needed to sleep.

Saturday gala night

Yay party night! Time to glam up and the final night at the transplant games. It has gone by so quick and a shame now almost over. I met and made some wonderful new friends, and caught up with existing friends.

With the other UK Newcastle team

With Scott
I am very saddened to say that Scott has since passed away. I met Scott for the first time in Sweden in 2011 at my first World Transplant Games. I was so excited to see him again in Australia, such a genuine and lovely, funny friend. Every day IS a bonus for us, and his presence will sorely be missed in the transplant community. My heart felt condolences to all who knew him and family/friends. May Scott breathe and fly freely now xx

Oops here I am dancing and caught in action!!!

Sunday - My day with Irene

I met Irene at the South African World transplant Games, and great to still be in contact after all these years :) We visited Arthur Seat Mountain and ate at the top of the mountain - with the most amazing views too.


I spent my with a hop on/off shuttle bus, and planned where I wanted to visit - obviously shops and more shops were part of the equation!! Fab markets and I even found a market stall called, Queen Justine Vintage - how funny - eh!! I had to explain to the lady of the stall - that Justine also my name and I NEED a photo!! hahahaha

The wheel at Harbour Town - and lots more shops - oh .....what a day ;)


This was a fun packed action adventure day and saw me conquer height fears and zip wire angst. I have done something similar in the UK, but no way as high as here in Australia and ended up doing it on my own. Irene did start with me - but, I finished as much as I could at the Glen Harrow tree top doing 3 levels. I really wanted to try and do another 2 as the next hardest levels, but ran out of time. A couple of times it was frightening - well, actually more than that. Also, I needed to be rescued at one point - but still continued on. The zip wires were so exhilarating - even though scary at the time. But, it as case of just go and have faith!! Phew - and relax :)

how high!!
The evening was with Irene's parents and sons and I was told often, "Eat..eat...eat" by Irene's mother. Those who know me well, realise I have a good appetite and do eat lots. Yet, I actually found myself unable to eat ..eat much more. A lovely traditional dinner was made - I just wish I could have taken it back home.


My last day was with Jennifer (as part of Team USA) and Irene again. Love this photo of us all - great memories.

And in the evening - reunited with Nathan again from the Oz games. OMG, the food was just so good here, such a good restaurant and good times for my final night in Melbourne, The following morning I would by flying to Sydney.

Friday - fly to Sydney 

Whoop! Whoop! I have arrived in Sydney, and it was a case of - dump my bags and go explore. I was staying with a lovely friend called, Pip - who actually was going to be away for the first few days. So, time for me to run riot in a new city :) I actually was meeting up with a couple of friends here too - amazing to finally meet up with a dancing pal when we were both in London. 


Today was the day I met up with Kim, my old dancing buddy. We both also worked at a dance studio in London and I was doing at least 5 x street dance classes a week here too! We had a great catch up, like the good old days - and tucked into some gorgeous foods :)

I also had time - to yes - go shopping!!! Before and after meeting up with Kim and ended up visiting two very different types of markets (Paddington and Glebe market) and getting some bargains too. I came back to the apartment staying in - with 5 dresses for 32 dollars, which is very cheap.

Manly beach 
Rocks market - more shopping
Vicki - lunch and ice cream, shopping

Monday - hop on/off ferry to Taronga Zoo

I must admit - that this blog has taken me a very time to actually publish, finish as my life has just taken over - so instead of trying to finish more of my travel/fun days after the Transplant Games. I will just show photos and a brief description, as I am leaving in a few days to go to Ecuador for a new venture.

Sydney Opera House
Botanical Gardens
healhty dinner with Pip

Tuesday Lisa Blair
CYCA Piers Dudin

Today I met up with a sailing girl from the days of the Clipper 11-12 Round the World Yacht Race. Fab catching up, and also with my skipper, Piers now living in Australia too.

with Lisa

With Piers

Shopping centre
Bondi beach - walk front to Watsons Bay
This was such a beautiful walk from the beach to Watsons Bay, all along the coast and lovely views too, it felt very calming :)

Thursday - Sydney Harbour Bridge climb
PM - dinner with Pip's friends - most amazing meal!

With Pip

with Pip and her friends enjoying a fab meal
Okay, this is a bit back to front - as the bridge climb was during the day and the meal in the evening..but hey ho...lol
Here are some photos from my experience as below. It felt incredible to do this and so many steps up. I felt very emotional once we had all as a group reached the top, a few happy tears. Thanks to my donor, an amazing and humbling feeling. You can see that I am very happy too!

halfway up

what a view of the Opera House

Yay, at the top!!
I loved this so much and the memories certainly so unique! Sydney is such an incredible place and I would love to re - visit again. It is a busy city and with lots going on and fun fun fun!!!

My last morning with Pip - aka Pipster
Coffee and sunglasses and red tops :)

Planking as you do early morning...hahaha

I will miss again all the new friends made and existing friends - good times. Thanks so much for Irene and Pip letting me stay with them and helping make my stay in Australia one I will never forget.

So there we have it - finally sharing my Oz venture, returning home a champion with unexpected medals. And, memories that will stay with me forever. I am so grateful for this experience and it feels very surreal now being back home as was the other side of the world. None of which would have been possible without the consent of my donor agreeing to Organ Donation and allowing me the privilege of making use of his lungs again.

my medals :)

Lots of exciting things are already in the pipeline for this year..so as usual watch this space. Thanks as always for all the love and support from those around me. I wish my friends/family continuous good health and get well vibes to those who need it and more transplants giving life again - like mine.

So, that's a wrap and now I leave for Ecuador tomorrow morning for another challenge climbing mountains and an active volcano with a team of other heart/lung transplantees. I am not sure if I will do another blog and it seems harder to do...but updates via my social networking sites will still happen. And, perhaps give me more time to continue focus on my autobiography. I just need to be able to sit still as my book will be never ending ;)

Big love and good health to each of you xx