It’s been another golden British Transplant Games for our Children’s Hospital superstars who left this year’s event in Newport, Wales, with another record-breaking haul.
The 53-strong Team BCH, kindly supported by our charity, performed brilliantly at the annual celebration of the ‘Gift of Life’ that organ donation offers, winning 120 medals, including 46 gold and the coveted title of Best Children’s Team for an amazing 23rd year in a row.
After last year’s success at the team’s home games in Birmingham, our athletes, all of whom have undergone life-saving transplant operations, went from strength-to-strength and also brought home the Best Liver Team prize.
The 2019 instalment of the popular event, which has been a fixture on the calendar for more than 40 years, attracted more than 1,000 competitors of all ages from across the country, who competed in 25 sports, including athletics, tennis, swimming and archery over four days of competition (25 - 28 July).
As always, the main message behind the event was to celebrate and champion organ donation; not only asking people to think about registering but also, importantly, sharing their wishes with their loved ones.
Donna Baxter’s son, Mason, was given his ‘Gift of Life’ in 2014 when he underwent a liver transplant carried out by our hospital’s expert team. The family from Bromsgrove enjoyed their second Transplant Games in South Wales.
“It’s been another fantastic few days. We’ve had a brilliant time this year, especially as we knew what to expect. It’s busy but Mason was a little more relaxed. I’d like to say thank-you to all of the team management who all work so hard.”
“What’s really special about the games is that you get to speak and meet so many families like ours who’ve experienced similar things. To talk to others who understand what’s happened and what you’ve been through really helps. I know Mason feels that way too. Everyone really is there for everyone.”
After a few weeks rest the organisation will start for the 2020 games, which it was announced will take place in Coventry as the curtain came down on this year’s event.
Sara Clarke, Transplant Games Team Manager and Senior Specialist Neonatal Dietitian at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, said:
“I’ve been involved with the games for 18 years and each year it just keeps getting better and better. Our fantastic Birmingham Children’s Hospital team, backed by the generous support of our charity, was the biggest we’ve ever taken away from home after the success of last year’s event in our city.
“As always the atmosphere was amazing and all of us in our team feel truly privileged to see the difference that organ donation makes to our children and young people.
“We know that families face such a difficult decision when they lose a loved one, which is why we’re so incredibly grateful to them when they give so selflessly to agree to offer the ‘Gift of Life’ to another family in need of help.
“Hopefully, this year’s games will have shared this powerful message once again to help save more lives in the future.”
To find out more about organ donation visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk, where you can also quickly and easily register. Both those signing up and those already registered are encouraged to share their wishes with their loved ones.