Kristie Purton is a Cystic Fibrosis sufferer, lung transplant recipient and stroke survivor and she is about to face yet another challenge - this time it is by choice.

The 35-year-old Tauranga woman has signed up for the Australian Transplant Games on the Gold Coast from September 30 to October 6, taking part in nine swimming, biking and running events.

Training for these events is an impressive feat for anyone, let alone someone told they were unlikely to live beyond 18 and at one point had to sleep sitting up because she struggled to breathe with a lung capacity which dropped to as low as 17 per cent.

This week, about a year after Purton underwent a life-changing lung transplant on July 20 2017, she officially started training to be able to swim up to 400m and next week she plans to get on a bike to start training for a 30km cycle and 5km run.


Life has thrown many challenges at Purton. When Purton came out of her surgery, she says she found out she had suffered a stroke.

She eventually got back into the water because she had always enjoyed swimming - but even that took some time to get used to.

Her limit was three strokes before she would hyperventilate and suffer a panic attack.

"It just slowly came right."

Her next challenge is to complete her events in the Transplant Games, a competition for transplant recipients and those waiting for transplants to prove they could lead normal, healthy lives.

Purton signed up for the games about six months ago with a goal of winning a medal.

However, since then, she has been struck down with influenza twice, leaving her hospitalised for two weeks each time and required a month of recovery. Now her goal is to complete her tasks.

"I'm just going to push it and try."


"Deep down I'd love to win a medal."

Purton swims at Liz van Welie Aquatics, the place she used to work before her transplant, and owners Liz van Welie and Greg Cummings were helping her reach her goals.

Cummings described her has a "freak of nature" who had beaten so many odds in her life, continued to prove medical science wrong and was an exceptional role model for children.

"She's a woman who has a sense of purpose, is driven and she doesn't take no for an answer.

In 2015 Purton and her sister Nikki Reynolds-Wilson embarked on 65 days of good deeds to help raise awareness of cystic fibrosis - an incurable lung disease the pair were born with.

Funded entirely by themselves, the sisters did things such as delivering home baking to emergency services, hospital security and lifeguards, donated used clothing to good causes and pay for a McDonald's meal for an unsuspecting stranger in the drive-through queue behind them.

Cummings said if the two battlers could give back to their community then Tauranga could support Purton in her efforts as well.

He has taken control of the financial side of the trip saying she would need about $4000 to attend the games, taking into account all costs including flights, accommodation and fees over the seven days she is there.

He planned to set up a Givealittle page to raise money for her trip and encouraged anyone who wanted to financially help to get in touch with the team at Liz van Welie Aquatics by calling 928 8822.

Purton said Greg and Liz were "amazing people" and was grateful for everything they had done for her.

Kristie Purton's Australian Transplant Games events:

Freestyle swim - 50m, 100m, 200m, 400m

Backstroke swim - 50m

Swimming relay


30km road cycle

5km run