Kidney transplant recipient Mark Brown of Ruddington has been selected to represent Great Britain at the 10th winter World Transplant Games (WWTG) in Anzere Switzerland Jan 7th-12th 2018. Team GB comprises of 12 adults, one junior and six children in the Nicholas Cup, with over 30 family, friends and nurses supporting them.
Mark(50), who received his donor kidney in 1994, is hoping to build on his success at previous games. He said ” for a team that doesn’t have a great opportunity to practice winter sports we’ve been relatively successful. This will be the 6th WWTG I’ve attended, and i’ve brought medals back in the slalom, snowboarding and at the most recent games in France 2014 returned with a silver in the team slalom and a gold in curling. In fact, I’ve now got three gold medals in curling – the British team literally sweeping up the medals on the ice rink!”
Whilst winning medals is the icing on the cake to an enjoyable week meeting old friends and new in the transplant community from around the world (the previous WWTG were attended by 211 athletes from 19 countries), the games are a way of demonstrating how people can practice sport after having undergone a transplant and showing the benefits of sport in rehabilitation post-transplant to rally the public to the cause of organ donation.
The WWTG encourages those who have received a transplant to lead active and healthy lives while showcasing the benefits of transplantation. The aim is to raise awareness of the need for more people to sign on to the Organ Donor Register. In the UK alone, 6500 people are waiting for a life saving transplant, and 3 die each day waiting.
A big part of the WWTG is the Nicholas Cup – Mark explains “A seven year-old boy from California, Nicholas Green, was killed by highway robbers in 1994 while vacationing in Italy with his family. His parents agreed to donate his organs and corneas, which went to seven Italians waiting for transplants. Reg and Maggie Green spoke openly to the media, with no bitterness, about their loss and decision. The world took the story – and the Greens – to its heart. Organ donations in Italy have quadrupled since Nicholas was killed so that thousands of people are alive who would have died.
In memory of Nicholas, the Nicholas Green camp takes place during the Winter World Transplant Games, culminating in a slalom race at the end of the week for all camp participants to win the “Nicholas Cup”.”
Mark’s final thoughts were “The Games give the opportunity to give thanks to the Donor families, without which, none of the athletes would be here to compete to the best of our abilities’, and to encourage everyone to discuss their wishes about organ donation with their families.”
To Join the NHS Organ Donor Register and help save lives call 0300 123 2323 or visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk