May 19 2013 Latest news:
Lizzie Dearden, Reporter
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
A Chadwell Heath teenager who had a kidney transplant when he was three carried the Olympic Torch through Harlow at the weekend.
Jack Booth, of Haywards Close, was born with a rare genetic disorder that made his kidneys started to fail when he was just a few months old.
He had a kidney transplant on the eve of his fourth birthday and has also had heart surgery related to the condition.
But the 16-year-old has gone on to excel in sports including badminton and table tennis, winning medals at the World Transplant Games.
Proud mum Linda encouraged Jack’s friends and teachers to nominate him as a torchbearer before passing away last year.
Jack said: “Mum started it all. She passed it on to people to write nominations and it was my badminton coach that did it.”
The Oaks Park High School student said running with the torch was “absolutely incredible”.
He added: “There are no words to describe what it was like, there were so many people.
“It was a bit nerve-wracking when I was waiting to take the torch but once I got going and the adrenaline kicked in it was fine.
“This is right up there with winning medals. It was even better in a way because it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
Last year, Jack won three gold medals for badminton and table tennis at the World Transplant Games in Sweden, and is hoping to defend his titles at the British Transplant Games next month.
Dad Ian cheered Jack on during the torch relay on Saturday.
He said: “It was spectacular, I was quite surprised at how many people were there.
“When we came out of the meeting place we saw the crowds, they were really good.”
Jack has just finished his GCSEs and will start at Epping Forest College in September.