A huge gathering of people from all over the world… all connected by the gift of life, right here on our doorstep.
It is often, nowadays, that I’m given the most wonderful opportunities. I’ve spoken at countless conferences for many charities in the most amazing venues, including on stage at a charity ball, at a symposium in front of top doctors from across the world and on an active trading floor! Last Thursday was no different. I was lucky enough to be a part of another very special event.
The World Transplant Games (WTG), as I’m sure you’ll deduce from the title, is a sporting event in which people from all over the world compete in a series of sporting events, all with one thing in common: they’ve all had a transplant.
This amazing event, that happens every 2 years, takes place all over the world. For example, in 2017 The Games were held in Malaga, Spain and two years before that they were in Mar del Plata, Argentina. I even heard a rumour that in 2021, The World Transplant Games will be held in Texas, USA!
But, most importantly, this year, the UK are lucky enough to be holding The Games in none other than the beautiful cities of Newcastle and Gateshead! How amazing is that?
On the 17th of August, these amazing transplant-style olympics are coming to The Toon and transplant recipients from 60 countries across the globe will be coming together to compete in a number of sporting events including swimming, golf, athletics, archery, cycling and many, many more!
Of course, I want to be a part of this amazing, once in a lifetime event but unfortunately, I am not quite good enough to compete – my sporting capabilities leave much to be desired. However, that doesn’t mean I can’t be involved. Oh no – I wasn’t about to let this one slip! I’m actually going to volunteer at the games.
This brings me back to Thursday.
Last Thursday I was invited to speak at a World Transplant Games event hosted at the beautiful Close House Golf Course. I went along with a fellow Newcastle student and kidney transplantee, Sam Pooley – an already decorated WTG athlete – who will be competing in track and field this year. Together, along with the incredible Lynne Holt, the Team GB Manager and former transplant coordinator (she coordinated my heart transplant), we were lucky enough to speak at the conference in front of people representing companies from all over Newcastle.
I told the group of around 70 people about my transplant journey and the reasons why I am volunteering at the games, the aim being to encourage as many as possible to donate time, money and effort to help us pull off an incredible week of sport. I spoke amongst some great people including the lovely owner of Close House Golf Club, Graham Wylie and Carole Stonehouse of the World Transplant Games Organising Committee.
The morning was a fantastic experience filled with endless press interviews, meeting new people and some hardcore networking on my part – gotta grasp every opportunity, huh? However, the event was really held to serve one purpose: to raise awareness of the The World Transplant Games, organ donation and to encourage people to get involved and contribute to this once-in-a-lifetime event that we may never see happen again, here in the UK, in our lifetimes.
Of course, you can be part of this too! If you think that you, or your company, could be able and willing to dedicate a little bit of time or money (and love, of course) to aid in pulling of this spectacular event, then visit the World Transplant Games website for more details. Volunteers are still needed and I can guarantee it will be a touching and life-changing experience so if you’re free between the 17th and 24th of August, give it a go and join us!
This truly is going to be something special. A huge gathering of people from all over the world, from different cultures and backgrounds, speaking different languages, all connected by the gift of life, right here on our doorstep.
There are few better ways to celebrate and thank the precious people who saved our lives. The people who made this all possible.
Above is a short video about the event and the games (featuring me and Sam)!
Follow Sam’s journey to the Games on his Instagram: @sampooleyfitness
Thank you for reading and don’t forget to get involved if you can. Sign up to the organ donor register here.
See you soon,
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