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Businesses in the UK are being urged to support the World Transplant Games as NewcastleGateshead prepares to host the global event next year.

A briefing was held at the House of Lords yesterday (Thursday 7 June) to update businesses and stakeholders about the Games and the vital role they play in increasing awareness of organ donation.

At the event attendees heard about opportunities for businesses to be involved in the Games and the organisers’ vision to create a lasting legacy by encouraging as many people as possible to sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register and, importantly, to share their wishes with family members.

Attendees included representatives from businesses across the UK, MPs, Transplant Sport charity volunteers, funders and transplant athletes, surgeons and ambassadors, including TV personality Sally Bee. 

Speakers on the day were House of Lords member and event sponsor Lord Elder, British Cycling Head Sprint Coach and transplantee Justin Grace, Chairman of Westfield Health Graham Moore and Chairman of the Local Organising Committee for NewcastleGateshead 2019 Graham Wylie CBE.

Justin Grace, British Cycling Head Sprint Coach, commented: “Hosting the World Transplant Games in NewcastleGateshead brings the rare opportunity of a ‘home Games’ to British transplant athletes. Reminiscent of the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic events, this will not only lead to greater awareness of organ donation but provide a platform for British transplant athletes to perform on the world stage in front of their friends and family.

“I am sure that this multi-sport event in NewcastleGateshead will be one of the finest events of its type in the world and rest assured that British transplant athletes are already well on the road to preparing for this event.”

Attendees were given information on the opportunities that are available to businesses by supporting the World Transplant Games, including sponsorship, fundraising and advocacy.

Last year, health and wellbeing specialist Westfield Health was announced as the first major sponsor. 

Graham Moore, Trustee of the Westfield Health Charitable Trust, said: “At Westfield Health, we are committed to supporting charities across the UK which provide valuable care and support to people of all ages who suffer from a range of health problems. But one cause which we are particularly passionate about is organ donation.

“Right now, across the UK there are around 6,000 people on the transplant waiting list, including around 150 children and teenagers. On average, three people die every day who could have benefited from an organ transplant.

“We are proud that our Charitable Trust has supported the British Transplant Games since 2008 and honoured to be a partner of the World Transplant Games in NewcastleGateshead next year.

“Organ donation can turn someone’s life around and the Games raise awareness of the need for organ donors, while celebrating recipients in regaining fitness to live fulfilled, healthy lives. Every single donor is valuable, and it ultimately means that more lives can be saved.”

NewcastleGateshead was chosen as the World Transplant Games host venue in 2016, beating off stiff competition from Houston, Texas in America. The Games will take place from 17-24 August 2019 and will be hosted at some of the top sports venues in Tyne and Wear.

Graham Wylie CBE, Chairman of the Local Organising Committee for NewcastleGateshead 2019, said: “We are honoured and very proud that the World Transplant Games are coming to our region next year. The people of the North East will give them a great ‘Geordie’ welcome and I am sure all the competitors and their supporters will have a fantastic time here in Newcastle and Gateshead.

“As well as hosting the games, we are also going to host a major conference on transplantation. There will be speakers and delegates coming from all over the world to the region and cementing our reputation as a world leading authority on this subject.

“We hope to put on the best games yet. All the competitors will show how they are enjoying a second chance of living a normal and active life, increase the awareness of the NHS Organ Donor Register and, by doing so, save many more lives. I am sure the whole of the North East will get behind these games and make them a huge success.” 

The summer instalment of the World Transplant Games takes place every two years and was last held in the UK 22 years ago with Manchester as host city. Its return is due in part to NewcastleGateshead’s successful delivery of the 2015 British Transplant Games, described by organisers and participants as “the best-ever”.
Further sponsorship opportunities are available to businesses looking to support the World Transplant Games NewcastleGateshead 2019. To express an interest in sponsorship, email: carolestonehouse@outlook.com or visit: www.worldtransplantgames.org/ 

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