Inspiring Kiwi athletes' medal haul from Aussie Transplant Games

A team of inspiring Kiwi athletes, who've been given a second chance at life, have brought home more than their fair share of medals from the Aussie Transplant Games.

One determined young mum, who underwent a lung transplant just last year, didn't know if she was well enough to compete - but it turns out she did more than just take part.

Every breath is precious for Kristie Purton - and one she may not have had, if it wasn't for the family who donated her lungs.

Born with cystic fibrosis, her lung capacity had deteriorated to 17 percent last year.

Now she has a new set of lungs and she was determined to make good use of them at the Games.

"On the top of my mind was the donor. I went for my donor, swam for my donor, did everything for the donor, in honour of the lifesaving thing they've given me," says Ms Purton.

It hasn't been an easy year - since the transplant she had a stroke and has twice been hospitalised with the flu.

Despite that, the mum-of-three managed a haul of eight medals, including four gold for swimming, triathlon and a 30km bike ride.

There were times when officials feared for her health but she wasn't going to let that stop her.

"Lifeguards and a lot of people were telling me I had to hop out and had to stop, but I kind of pretended not to hear them," says Ms Purton.

"Then, in the cycle, the same thing happened and someone must have notified the ambos that I didn't look too good, and they said it's not that blooming Kiwi is it, so I got a bit of a name for pushing myself to the limits."

She trains at Liz van Welie Aquatics in Tauranga and her swimming coach Greg Cummings is immensely proud.

"Completely blown away, gobsmacked," he says.

"At times I guess, with her condition, we've tried our hardest to rein her in but she's pretty stubborn and she will do what she will do."

And Kristie wasn't the only Kiwi to walk away with a reputation.

Kidney recipient Matt Field earned the award for best international athlete after winning five golds, a silver and a bronze.

Each athlete wanting to demonstrate their appreciation for the life they've been given - each medal in honour of their donor.

Ms Purton has now started writing a letter to her donor family... to say thank you.

She's already thinking about the next Games. 

Newshub.