Over 50 inspirational transplant athletes who have overcome serious illness have returned triumphant from Cagliari, Sardinia with a haul of medals, 165 in total which includes 67 Gold 43 Silver and 55 Bronze. All these athletes represent Team Great Britain (GB) supported by the charity, Transplant Sport
The Championship is open to all organ and bone marrow transplant recipients and dialysis patients, of all ages and abilities, from over 25 different countries. They competed in badminton, tennis, table tennis, cycling, petanque, swimming, darts, golf, ten pin bowling, mini-marathon and athletics.
Two of these are local athletes – John Moore from Heaton, liver transplant who won 3 Golds in his 3 events, and Alex Bell from Jesmond, heart transplant, who won 2 bronzes.
John commented: “The gift of life provided by organ donation has allowed me not only to survive, but to resume a full and active lifestyle. Competing in Sardinia was a great opportunity to highlight this, and hopefully to encourage a discussion of organ donation that might lead to fewer people dying while waiting for a transplant.”
Team Great Britain consists of heart, kidney, pancreas, liver, small bowel and bone marrow transplant athletes, including 1 on dialysis, waiting for a kidney transplant, ranging in age from 15 to 67. The Games offer transplanted athletes and those on dialysis, an opportunity for sporting competition, to live life to the full, in the spirit of sport and friendship, and give thanks to organ donor families.
The next time Team GB attends an International event will be next August at the World Transplant Games in 2019 which will be hosted in NewcastleGateshead.
Lynne Holt, GB Team Manager, from the UK charity Transplant Sport (TS) which supports Team Great Britain, said: “I am delighted with the number of medals won, and that the athletes training, has brought success. The athletes need to be at their peak of physical fitness to compete, clearly illustrating the benefits of organ transplantation. Many of our transplant athletes have experienced near death situations and long illness, and it is very gratifying to see them able to enjoy a full life, thanks to organ donation. However, all our athletes are gold medallists in that they have all won their race for life. The true champions, however, are those individuals that gave the gift of life, offering all these athletes their second chance to live.
“Hopefully this international event has encouraged others to sign on to the Organ Donor Register, but most importantly, discuss their donation wishes with their families now.”