A resident of West Bridgford has just returned from the British Transplant Games (BTG) in Bolton with four medals. Graeme Gunn received a liver transplant 15 months ago and this is his first BTG. He won bronze in tennis, squash and badminton, along with a silver medal in table tennis.
Graeme told The Nottingham Local News: “It was really inspiring to compete with so many amazing people who have been through the same as I have. This really was a competition to celebrate the gift of life for all these athletes.”
The British Transplant Games encourages those who have received a transplant to lead active and healthy lives while showcasing the benefits of transplantation. The aim of the charity Transplant Sport (TS), who organize the BTG, is to raise awareness of the need for more people to sign on to the NHS Organ Donor Register. In the UK, 10,000 people are waiting for a life-saving transplant and three die each day waiting.
Over 700 athletes from 55 transplant units across the UK, who have all received a life-saving organ transplant, took part. Aged from two to 82 they competed in 20 different sports, including archery, athletics, golf, squash, snooker, tennis, cycling and swimming. Competition was fierce, but the athletes have already won the race for life – winning a medal is simply a bonus.
Selection for Team Great Britain will take place after these games and the successful athletes will compete at the World Transplant Games in Argentina next year. Over 1,200 supporters turned up to cheer on the athletes over four days at the Westfield Health British Transplant Games. The event is managed by Montgomery Leisure Services (MLS), in partnership Transplant Sport UK.
Chair of Transplant Sport (TS), Andy Eddy, himself a liver transplant recipient, said: “These are truly the friendly Games, demonstrating the success of transplantation, the joy of being alive and the opportunity to give thanks to the donor families.
“We encourage everyone to discuss their wishes about organ donation with their families, without which, none of us athletes would be here to compete to the best of our abilities.”
To find out more about the Westfield Health British Transplant Games, please visit transplantsport.org.uk. To Join the NHS Organ Donor Register and help save lives, text SAVE to 62323, call 0300 123 2323 or visit organdonation.nhs.uk.