Our roving reporter Jessica went to The Transplant Games to speak to some of the competitors and find out what the games are all about!
This year’s games took place in Newcastle and Gateshead. British Transplant Games Chairman Graham Wylie announced at the opening ceremony that a record number of 900 competitors were taking part in the games and that there was a record number of over 2,000 supporters attending. There were a variety of sporting events which included archery, basketball, table tennis, athletics, a children’s obstacle course and many more.
The aim of the games is to increase public awareness of the need for more people to join the NHS Organ Donation Register and discuss their wishes with their families’ whist encouraging transplant patients to regain physical fitness.
While at the games I got the chance to speak to this year’s Mini Marathon winner John Moore. John received a liver transplant in 2011 at the freeman hospital in Newcastle. He has won the mini marathon in the 40-49 age group for the last two years and this marks his third year winning the marathon. John told me: 'The games have a friendly and fun atmosphere and when participating in the games it’s an amazing feeling with all the spectators and families cheering us on.' He also told me: 'It’s amazing and emotional meeting the donor families and living donors who are participating in the games.' This year John won gold medals in the 1,500 meters track and the 800 meters as well as a gold medal and trophy in the mini marathon. He, along with some of the other competitors will be taking part in the World Transplant Games in Argentina in late august.
I also was able to speak to a beautiful little girl named Ella Noon. Ella was competing for Birmingham Children’s hospital transplant department, she is 9 years old and was 22 months old when she received her liver transplant. She won the gold medal in the mini marathon for her age group and was running for her donor Jessie. What is amazing about Ella being at the games is that her donor’s mam Lindsey and family were at the games to support her, I got a chance to talk with them all and they are amazing, inspiring beautiful people.
The games were a fantastic experience to be a part of, the organisers were very accommodating and the competitors were very welcoming and friendly, they were happy to share their stories and time with me.
Around 7,000 people in the UK are waiting for a transplant with 3 people dying each day whilst waiting for a match. More people signing up to the organ donor register would make a big difference.
I personally wish all the competitors who are taking part in the World Transplant Games in Argentina good luck and I hope they have fun and bring back some medals. I also recommend going to the next games to spectate and get involved because it’s a great experience, one that you will never forget. And please if you are signing up for the donor register don’t forget to discuss your wishes with your family, it's so important and your future donation could help a little girl like Ella to live a long life.
Categorised under: Young People