Local athlete Graeme Gunn is to represent Great Britain at the upcoming World Transplant Games in Malaga, Spain
The team, organised by Transplant Sport (TS), is the largest ever and comprises of 200 transplant athletes, including 20 juniors, 10 live donors and over 200 supporters,
These athletes have all survived either a heart, lung, kidney, pancreas, liver, small bowel or bone marrow transplant.
Graeme said: “I am over the moon to have been selected to represent Team GB in the World Transplant Games. I have competed in the GB games for the last three years.
“I am representing Team GB in squash, tennis and padel tennis. I have been training hard since February at Lady Bay Tennis Club and the new Rushcliffe Arena sports facility.
“My latest training session, with my wife Jill, was a cycle ride from Morecambe to Bridlington called The Way of the Roses. This was 170 miles coast to coast across the Pennines.
“I am hoping that my efforts will produce a medal but that is not the main reason for my competing – it is to raise awareness of the need for organ donation across the world as well as in the UK.
“I hope if you are reading this you will think about it. I owe my life to my donor.”
The World Transplant Games take place every two years and are supported by the International Olympic Committee.
It represents the largest organ donor awareness event in the world, featuring a week of 17 sporting events.
Team Great Britain will join 1,000 other transplant athletes from 60 countries across the globe.
Lynne Holt, team manager said: “We aim to exceed the 127 gold medals won at the World Transplant Games in 2015 and to bring home the trophy for the best team.
“These athletes certainly deserve the same recognition as the recent Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“In spite of the constant training, fitting in work, school, exams, publicity and hospital clinic appointments, these athletes receive no government support, and have to raise the £1,500 themselves.
“Sadly, many could not accept their place on the team because of the heavy financial burden.
“The team are supported by management, coaches, captains and a medical/physio team – all who are volunteers and are also self-financing.
“However, their motivation to be Fit for Life, the opportunity to represent their country, celebrate life and in doing so, paying tribute to their donors who gave them life, is the goal.
“The experience will ultimately be a rewarding one for the athletes, the supporters and the management team.
“Not only are these athletes ambassadors for our country, but they are also representing the charity, Transplant Sport.
“They hope to raise awareness here in the UK, and globally, of the need for more people to sign on to the Organ Donor Register and discuss their wishes with their family and friends.”