Representatives from the World Transplant Games Federation visited the North East last week as preparations continue for the Games which will be hosted in NewcastleGateshead in 2019.
Delegates from the Federation’s executive team and wider staff, including President Chris Thomas (Australia) and Executive Manager Kim Renyard (South Africa), met with members of the Local Organising Committee for the World Transplant Games NewcastleGateshead 2019 to discuss plans and logistics for the Games.
The delegation visited local venues, including Gateshead International Stadium and Sports Central, as well as looking around the accommodation that athletes and their families will be using during the Games. They also visited medical facilities in the area, including the UK’s very first Institute of Transplantation at The Freeman Hospital.
The World Transplant Games NewcastleGateshead will take place from 17-24 August 2019 and will be hosted at some of the top sports venues in Tyne and Wear.
While in the North East, the Federation also held its annual board meeting at Newcastle University, with the 2019 Games high on the agenda. They also took time out from official proceedings to enjoy a tour of everything that is going on as part of Great Exhibition of the North.
Chris Thomas, President of the World Transplant Games Federation, said: “The North East of England is well renowned in transplantation and this was among the reasons that the Federation chose NewcastleGateshead to host the games next year. It was great to hear how the preparations are coming along for the Games next year and experience what NewcastleGateshead has to offer during Great Exhibition of the North.
“We are particularly pleased with the commitment of the games partners to promote the games nationwide. Transplant Sport UK had the inspiration to attract the Games and we know how committed they are to maximising attendance from Great Britain and Northern Island. In addition, Sports Event managers MLS will deliver the sports program and our Board is very satisfied with preparations.”
The federation also discussed a Transplantation Symposium that will be held as part of the Games next year. On the first day of World Transplant Games 2019, Saturday 17 August, a conference for up to 150 people will be held in conjunction with Newcastle University. The Symposium will be hosted in lecture halls around Newcastle University and be chaired by Professor Andrew Fisher.
Professor Fisher, Dean of Clinical Medicine and Professor of Respiratory Transplant Medicine at Newcastle University, said: “The aim of the World Transplant Games is to raise awareness of the need for more organ donors globally, while also encouraging transplant recipients to regain fitness. During the World Transplant Games in NewcastleGateshead we will be holding a Transplantation Symposium at Newcastle University which will help achieve these aims, while also attracting experts on the subject from around the world.”
Running alongside the Transplantation Symposium will be a public engagement event at the Boiler House on campus to raise awareness of the need for more organ donors globally. There will be a fitness assessment centre run by staff from Sports and Exercise Science at Newcastle University where the public, along with Games participants, can come to use equipment and get fitness tested.
Graham Wylie CBE, Chair of the Local Organising Committee for World Transplant Games 2019, said: “We are very proud that the World Transplant Games are coming to our region next year. Having a major conference on transplantation, with speakers and delegates coming from all over the world, will only build on the region’s reputation as a leading authority on the subject.”
Last year, health and wellbeing specialist Westfield Health was announced as the first major sponsor and organisers recently urged businesses gathered at a House of Lords event to get involved and support the Games.
Mr Wylie added: “We are hoping to put on the best games yet and, in doing so, increase the awareness of the NHS Organ Donor Register and save many more lives. I am sure both businesses and the public alike will get behind the Games and make them a huge success.”
For more information on the World Transplant Games NewcastleGateshead 2019 visit http://worldtransplantgames.org/.