A mascot inspired by designs from schoolchildren across the North East has been unveiled as the region prepares to host the World Transplant Games.
The mascot, named Hope, is a transplant athlete dog who was created using various designs from hundreds of schoolchildren throughout the North East.
Hope will be busy in the run-up to, and throughout, the Games that take place between 17 and 23 August at venues around the North East. During the Games, Hope will be encouraging over 2,300 participants and supporters and interacting with the crowds.
The World Transplant Games are open to all ages, with the aim of raising awareness of organ donation, promoting the benefits of transplantation and encouraging transplant patients to regain fitness.
Graham Wylie, chair of the World Transplant Games NewcastleGateshead 2019, said: “Hope will help raise awareness of organ donation and celebrate the inspiring transplant athletes that will be competing. With athletes as young as 6 competing, Hope will engage with younger participants and supporters and bring an extra element of fun to the Games.
“During the World Transplant Games athletes will compete at world class sporting venues across our region and celebrate the wonders of transplantation through our fabulous social and cultural programme. After years of planning, the Games are nearly here, and we can’t wait to welcome nearly 2,300 participants and supporters to the North East.”
Participants from 59 countries across the world will travel to the North East for the World Transplant Games. Athletes are travelling from far and wide, with several countries taking part for the first time, including; Azerbaijan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mongolia and Nepal.
World Transplant Games Federation President Chris Thomas stressed that Hope is more than just a cute mascot for the Games. He said: “Hope is aptly named as hope symbolizes the journey of someone waiting for a transplant. The hope that you will survive long enough to receive that phone call that a donor organ is available to save your life. And the hope that you are able to live a long and healthy life thanks to the generosity of someone else.”
From Spring 2020 the law around organ and tissue donation in England is changing. Unless you choose to opt out, or are in an excluded group, if you are 18 and above and live in England it will be considered that you agreed to be an organ donor when you die. Whatever your decision, make your choice clear to your family and closest friends to help ensure your choice is honoured. NHS Blood and Transplant’s #PassItOn campaign encourages people to pass on their organs and save lives; make their decision and pass it on those closest to them; spread the word and help us pass on the campaign message to others.
For more information on the World Transplant Games 2019 visit www.worldtransplantgames.org