- The British Transplant Games have been hosted annually since 1978, and have visited 17 host cities around the UK, including, Portsmouth, Newcastle. Edinburgh, Belfast, Sheffield and Medway.
- The Games aim to demonstrate the benefits of transplantation, encouraging transplant patients to regain fitness, whilst increasing public awareness of the need for more people to join the NHS Organ Donation Register and discuss their wishes with their families.
- This year celebrated the biggest British Transplant Games, with 805 competitors and 1323 Supporters attending the games.
- Next year the games will travel to Liverpool and it was officially announced at this year’s games that a bid has been placed to bring the World Transplant Games to Newcastle Gateshead in 2019.
- Transplant Games increases profile of organ donation, brings hope to families and increases number of people signing up for organ donation
Leeds has a large team from across the UK, and at the last games was represented by competitors aged 18 — 79.
“I had a kidney transplant as a child in 1980 and a after the same disease went on to destroy my liver I had a liver transplant in 1997, both of which have thankfully been very successful. I have been attending the British Transplant Games since 1981 and although not a great athlete go to meet my friends and many very inspiring people.
One year I met a donor dad who was telling me his son had died after being knocked down and they donated his organs as he had watched Blue Peter as a child, seen children with transplants saying how good they were and told them he wanted to be a donor if anything happened to him. When I told him I was one of those children he hugged me and said “Thank you”! When I asked why he was thanking me he said “My son’s life was over, but because of what you did I can see his heart propelling someone down that pool”!
I don’t know who my donor families are, but this donor dad and his wife and now good friends of mine and a surrogate donor family for me.”
Iain was inspired to take part in the British Transplant Games after reading about a lady who had competed and seeing her medals on the ward while recovering from his transplant. He was determined to take part and it gave him the motivation and drive to get fit again.
“We hadn’t met any transplant recipients before the games (expect on the ward or at outpatients appointments) and it was fantastic to speak to people at the games who were very positive about their experiences and to discover how long many of them had had their transplants. The team were very supportive and welcoming and this has given us a renewed confidence in the future. The games were a celebration and very friendly. We are all looking forward to the games next year.”