The World Transplant Games, supported by the International Olympic Committee, represents the largest organ donor awareness event in the world, featuring a week of 13 sporting events. Team Great Britain and NI, will join 1000 other transplant athletes from 50 countries across the globe.
107 Transplant athletes will descend on Argentina, which includes 12 junior athletes. Team Great Britain will take a further 100 supporters including the management team. Many of the athletes attended the Westfield Health British Transplant Games, held 2 weeks ago here in NewcastleGateshead.
2 of the team, Emma Hilton, 25 year old heart transplant and Tony Scott, 73 year old liver transplant, both from Middlesex, have been supported by Sovereign.
Lynne Holt, Team Manager and Trustee at Transplant Sport said: “Stepping up to the plate after the British Transplant Games, the World Transplant Games are a great opportunity for our transplant athletes to compete at an international level, to share their stories and inspire people to sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register. The athletes should now be in peak condition in preparation for the World Transplant Games in Argentina in 1 week. The British and World Transplant Games would not be possible without the generosity of the organ donors who ensure that these athletes can demonstrate the benefits of lifesaving transplantation.”
“Not only are these athletes ambassadors for our country, but they are also representing the charity, Transplant Sport, and hope to raise more awareness here in the UK and globally, of the need for more people to sign on to the Organ Donor Register and express their wishes with family and friends.
“It is always a little daunting competing at the World Transplant Games but with the help of those who have been before, together with the coaches, captains, management, medical and physio team, the experience will ultimately be a rewarding one for all involved!
Being an athlete on the team is an enormous commitment of both time and money. For the past 10 months the athletes have been busy keeping fit, regularly training in their sport, attending regular team training meets, doing publicity and trying to raise the £2k per person to get there! However, the opportunity to represent their country, celebrate life and in doing so, paying tribute to their donors, is the goal”
In 2013 the team returned home from the World Games in Durban, triumphant, boasting a total of 279 medals and claiming the overall winning title for the 17th World Transplant Games. Expectation of retaining this title is high for the team this year
About Organ Transplant in the UK
More than 8,000 people in the UK are currently waiting for a transplant and sadly, three people die waiting every day. But with only 32 per cent of the UK population actually registered as organ donors, and a relative refusal rate of 43%, more work needs to be done to raise awareness of donation and to urge those on the donor register to share their wishes with loved ones.