A CYSTIC fibrosis sufferer from Colchester has won a bronze medal at the British Transplant Games in Birmingham.

Karen Mills competed in five events for the Royal Papworth Hospital Team, who competed against other transplant hospitals in the UK.

She took bronze in the 50-metre backstroke swim and walked away proud from her other achievements in the 4 x 50-metre swim relay (freestyle), long jump, ladies’ doubles badminton and ball throw.

Just four years ago, Karen was unsure if she’d make it to her 35th birthday.

She said: "All in all, it was a fabulous event and experience for both myself and my husband Glen.

"As a hospital Royal Papworth held onto the 'Best Heart and Lung Centre"' trophy for the third year running. I will definitely be competing next year, and am now starting to contemplate what events I will do."

She added: "I got bronze in my individual 50-metre backstroke with a time of one minute and three seconds.

"It was a lot harder than I expected as I'd never swum in a 50-metre pool before, so by the time I was half way, I was spent, but managed to keep going to the end."

Karen, 32, and from Monkwick, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis aged five but has never lost her determination.

By her twenties, taking tablets to help Karen manage the condition were not enough.

Cystic fibrosis leaves sufferers’ lungs and digestive system clogged with thick sticky mucus.

It was tough for Karen who loved swimming and she even resorted to doing so while her mum held onto her oxygen tank by the poolside.

Finally, on February 23 2014, a suitable lung donor had been found and her life has been turned around following a double transplant.

Karen's badminton team came last out of four teams but opponents included those who play for Great Britain.

Her swim relay team also came last by just a few seconds.

Karen's ball throw was 26.01metres, not enough for a medal, and for her long jump she also placed fourth, measuring 2.68metres.

She trained without a coach and in her spare time Sports Direct gym, Colchester.