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There is a busy calendar of organ donation themed events and campaigns ahead this year.
There’s a busy calendar of organ donation themed events and campaigns ahead this year, with World Kidney Day first up in March.
World Kidney Day is a global initiative aimed at raising awareness of the importance of good kidney health. Transplantation is recognised as the best option for kidney failure and with over two-thirds of those waiting for a transplant in the UK requiring a kidney, kidney donors are vital.
Did you know that you could donate one of your kidneys as a living donor? A healthy person can live a normal life with only one functioning kidney, giving family, friends or even a stranger the opportunity to enjoy better health.
One person who benefitted from the gift of a kidney is Stephen Hancock, whose life was changed in 2016.
He says, “I can’t really fully explain the impact of receiving a kidney transplant as it massively impacts every single aspect of your life and the lives of those around you. From no longer needing to be hooked up to a dialysis machine for 10 hours every single day, to being able to eat an unrestricted diet, to enjoy a soak in a bath, to have the energy to play sport, to enjoy a walk with friends and family, to just feeling healthy……and revelling in the sheer freedom of no longer being poisoned due to failing kidneys.”
(Picture: Stephen had a kidney transplant)
Since receiving his transplant, Stephen has been a regular participant in the British Transplant Games, which return this summer after a two-year covid-enforced break. The Games are a celebration of life, open to organ transplant recipients aged five and above, with around 1000 participants competing in more than 25 sports. The host city changes each year and this year the spotlight falls on 28-31th July in Leeds.
I can’t really fully explain the impact of receiving a kidney transplant as it massively impacts every single aspect of your life and the lives of those around you
Stephen, who will be competing in the golf and archery competitions and the donor run, says, “The Games mean a huge amount to me as they acted as a real spur for me to get fit after my transplant. They are a fantastic way of demonstrating the benefits of organ donation, with the hope that even more people can receive the gift that I was given.
“My family will come together from far and wide to meet up at the Games as the annual ‘get together’; none of us can think of a better event at which to celebrate love and life.”
The Transplant Games aren’t the only big sporting event for the transplant community this summer. The European Transplant and Dialysis Games are scheduled for the 21 -28th August in Oxfordshire – the first time they have been held in the UK. More than 400 participants are expected from across Europe.
The Commonwealth Games are also taking place in Birmingham this summer, between late July and early August. To mark the occasion, a ‘Tribute to Life’ project has been established, inviting all Commonwealth nations to join a humanitarian effort to share knowledge and expertise to increase ethical organ and tissue donation and transplantation, regardless of transplant infrastructure, for the benefit of all Commonwealth citizens.
We hope that by the time of the games we will have gained support from Commonwealth nations for a memorandum of understanding on organ and tissue donation and transplantation which reflects our shared values.
(Picture: Stephen will be competing in the golf and archery competitions at the transplant games)
Finally, a date for your diary! Organ Donation Week, our annual action-packed week of events, media coverage and activities, will be taking place from 19-25th September this year. Stay tuned to our social channels @NHSOrganDonor and our organ donation website for more details about how you can get involved and inspire more people to register and share their organ donation decision!