As the British Transplant Games 2019 were officially launched in Newport earlier this week, I thought it would be good to share Zoe Dixon’s article on last year’s hugely successful games in Birmingham as a bit of inspiration to everyone to get involved. If you can go to Newport, whether as competitor or spectator, I guarantee you will be inspired and moved by the event.
BRITISH TRANSPLANT GAMES 2018
02 – 05 August
Manchester Adults Team Report
The Manchester Adults Team enjoyed a fantastic weekend at the Transplant Games in Birmingham and this summer’s glorious sunshine actually stayed with us too! With both experienced and new competitors in the team we had 16 Transplant competitors and 1 Live Donor competing in 32 different events across 14 sports and with wonderful encouragement given by our supporters who themselves were able to take part in many social sports on offer. The team achieved a total of 29 medals (8 Gold, 13 Silver and 8 Bronze) over the four days and medals or not each and every competitor is truly ‘Winning at Life!’
On the first evening all the teams paraded through Birmingham city centre into the Opening Ceremony, held in the stunning Symphony Hall, where the record for the number of people with transplants in one room was broken with a new Guinness World Record of 723 (still going through the intricate verification process as I write this). The surprise special guest for the evening was the amazing comedian Jasper Carrott OBE, who was hilarious as ever!
The four days saw transplant athletes compete in a range of sports from Archery to Volleyball and many in-between including Cycling, Lawn Bowls, Swimming, Athletics, Darts, Snooker, Ten-Pin Bowling, Golf, 6 A-side Football and various Racquet sports. There were also social events for supporters, such as the Football, Golf, Basketball, Netball and the Donor Run.
The Games Village set-up with campus accommodation and the majority of sports being held using Birmingham University sports facilities made for a magnificent atmosphere and enhanced the social and networking aspects of the Games including an outdoor festival with a BBQ and Hog Roast on the Saturday evening of the Donor Run. This was my 18th consecutive British Transplant Games and the hosts at Birmingham University certainly made it one of the best yet. The weekend culminated with a Gala Celebration event held at the International Convention Centre.
Very well done to all our competitors this year:
Connor Ellis; David Jones; Beth Morris; Guy Hill; Holly Loughton; Judith McEwen; Juliet Lewis; Kelly Chadwick; Khalid Bostan; Mark Smith; Paul Reynolds; Sam Clarke; Scott Mackenzie; Stewart Jones; Zoë Dixon; Wesley Winder and his Dad and Live Donor Philip Winder. Also, to Lesley Dunn who could not compete due to injury but still came along to support us, thank you!
On behalf of the whole team I would also like to say a massive thank you to our sponsors this year. To Kidneys for Life for our fabulous new team polo shirts and to Kidney Care UK for funding all the competitor registration fees and helping with our accommodation costs. Your support and generosity made such a difference to the team, helping each and every one of us to take part.
The whole team spirit is fantastic and like all the competitors, I’m always so grateful that I am actually able to take part and it is only possible because of the brave decision a family made to donate their loved one’s organs. To compete is to give thanks to our donor families and living donors, demonstrate the benefits of transplantation, raise awareness of organ and bone marrow/stem cell donation and to celebrate the gift of life.
Next year’s British Transplant Games will be held in Newport, Wales, 25 – 28 July 2019. We very much welcome new team members so if you are interested in taking part please do get in touch with me. I can guarantee you will enjoy the most amazing experience that is the Transplant Games!
The World Transplant Games are to be hosted in the UK, Newcastle/Gateshead 17 – 24 August 2019.
Zoë Dixon MBE
Manchester Adults Team Manager