Buckeye teen competing after liver transplant

Posted at 11:45 AM, Jun 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-09 14:45:38-04

A Buckeye teenager is proving anything is possible, even after a liver transplant. 13-year-old Maia Thompson will represent Arizona in the Transplant Games of America this year.

She has always found comfort competing in the pool, and has been swimming longer than she can remember.  Maia relied heavily on her swim team for support during a liver transplant last fall.

“It felt like I was in the hospital forever, like I was never going to get out,” Thompson said.

Recovery took months.

“We looked at Maia and said, ‘you've got to fight this, this is your race, and you've got to do this, you've got to finish strong, you've got to hang in there,’” said Christine Thompson, Maia’s mom.

Now, Maia is getting stronger with every stroke.

“I have to modify some practices,” she said. “Before the transplant I was a really good butterflier, and I’m not as fast at butterfly now, but I'm slowly working on it.”

Maia will compete with a new team at the Transplant Games of America in Cleveland, from June 10-15.  It’s a chance to raise awareness about the importance of organ donation and shine a light on the lasting legacy of donors across the country.

“There’s always an end to bad things,” she said.  “It’s not going to last forever.”