Tuesday, 28 August 2012

How to save a life...

WOW, what a fabulous and inspirational weekend we have had.  

We had the privilege of attending the British Transplant Games in Medway, Kent in support of Crummy Hubby who was participating.  In 2005, after a period on dialysis Crummy Hubby had a kidney transplant.  His kidney was donated by his Maw, and I am pleased to say that 7 years and two children later it is still going strong!  Coming from sporty families the British Transplant Games is something Crummy Hubby and I wanted to get involved with, and we’ve met so many inspirational people along the way.

The Transplant Games started in Portsmouth in 1978, as a way of encouraging transplant patients to keep fit and healthy, while raising awareness of the importance of Organ Donation.   They are open to both children and adults, with all the major transplant centers around the UK represented by a team of athletes.  It has to be said, the biggest and most supported teams come from GOSH (Great Ormond St), and Evelina  Children’s Hospital (Guys and St Thomas’).  It is truly heart-warming to see these children taking part in sporting events and living their lives to the full!
This year Crummy Hubby took part in 6 events – the Badminton Doubles, 400m, Discus, Shot Putt, Ball Throw and the 4x100m relay.  He received a Bronze Medal in the Discus and a Silver Medal in the Ball Throw.   The Portsmouth Team did well this year:

Gold x 10
Silver x 10
Bronze x 2

What is truly amazing though, is that all of these athletes have had life-saving, major surgery in the form of an organ transplant; and not only that they are committed to keeping themselves fit and healthy in honour of the gift that their donor has given them.  The Games are not only for the athletes, but also for the donor families.  People who, in  the face of a great personal tragedy, decided to give the gift of life by agreeing to donate their loved ones organs.  It must be incredibly moving for them to see the huge difference organ transplants make to individuals.  This year , it was also great to get some local news coverage… Not quite wall to wall coverage on BBC 3 with Claire Balding commentating but it’s a step in the right direction!

At the 2012 Games, many of the athletes (Crummy Hubby included!) will have been hoping to get selected to represent Great Britain at the World Transplant Games, to be held in Durban, South Africa in 2013.  I’ll keep you posted….

The next British Transplant Games will be held in Sheffield from the 15-18 August 2013.

As I previously mentioned, the purpose of the Transplant Games is twofold… not only to encourage transplant patients to keep fit and healthy, but also to raise awareness of organ donation.  Organ donation is a subject that is close to my heart (as you can well imagine), and I would like to take this opportunity to encourage you all to look into signing the NHS Organ Donation Register. I have seen first hand the difference receiving a transplant can make to someone’s quality of life, and each and every one of the 600 athletes who took part in the Games over the weekend is testament to that.

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