Representing GOSH at the British Transplant Games
30 Sep 2022, 3 p.m.
In July, 12 of our patients headed to Leeds to take part in the British Transplant Games.
We caught up with kidney transplant recipients Ben, Daisy and Jasmine who share their experience and favourite memories of the games.
What are the Transplant Games?
The British Transplant Games is an annual event spanning four days. This year, over 850 transplant patients, aged five and upwards, came together in Leeds to take part in over 25 sporting events.
The Games aim to encourage transplant patients to regain fitness and confidence by celebrating life. It also promotes friendship and co-operation between individuals and families involved with transplantation, whilst increasing public awareness of the value of organ donation and honouring the transplant recipients, donors and donor families.
Daisy’s First Transplant Games
Nine-year-old Daisy had a kidney transplant in 2021 and has been looking forward to taking part in the Transplant Games for a long time.
I was very excited. I’ve seen a lot of my friends have transplants and go to the games, so when I had mine, I hoped I would be able to attend too one day.
On the first night Daisy attended the Opening Ceremony of the Games.
It was brilliant to see all the hospital teams, families and children taking part, and amazing to meet the families of our teammates who we would be taking part with.
We made new friends straight away, and between us, we carried the flags and banners for GOSH Renal to the opening ceremony. We were all very excited and very proud.
Over the course of the Games, Daisy won a silver medal.
I enjoyed being on the GOSH team. Our nurses, games staff and play team are the best there is. We have lots of fun, and it makes me proud to represent them all.
When not cheering and taking part there was lots of other things to do. We had face painting, games, so many charities to visit and lots of gifts, and so many new friends to run around and play with.
Daisy is already looking ahead to next year’s games and is going to train now she knows what to expect.
It will be amazing to see all our friends again and we will all help each other with support and friendship.
Ben's last year in the GOSH Renal Team
Ben had a kidney and liver transplant aged two, and has been taking part in the Transplant Games since he was five years old. This year, at 17-years-old, Ben took part in his final games as a member of the GOSH renal team, before he transitions into adult care.
Year after year Ben returned to take part in the Games because of the supportive environment being surrounded by those who have similar experiences creates.
My experience with GOSH Renal and the transplant games has made me more independent with my own health, it has taught me that even with certain things that may hold us back we can still use the challenges to push ourselves forward, and that we cannot let anything hold us back.
Looking to the future, Ben would like to go into theatre. This is possible because of his transplant, and the decision the donor family made. It has given him the chance to experience life’s opportunities.
Jasmine’s First Transplant Games
14-year-old Jasmine was born with end stage renal failure, and went onto dialysis when she was just 11-days old.
Thankfully, Jasmine’s dad was a good match and was able to donate one of his kidneys to Jasmine. At 20-months old Jasmine had her kidney transplant, and has been coming to GOSH for regular check-ups since.
This year, Jasmine went to her first Transplant Games and took part in a variety of events including badminton and the obstacle race.
It was fun but tiring, and I am glad that I went. I had to walk seven and a half laps in the 3km walking event, which is a lot. Surprisingly I got a silver medal! It has taught me to try new things.
I hope my mum doesn’t sign me up for the 5km walk next year, but I am looking forward to being in the GOSH team and taking part again next year.
Rallying support from GOSH members of staff
Over 60 supporters from GOSH, comprised of staff, parents and siblings, went along to cheer on our incredible participants.
Suzanne Collin, in the Patient Experience Team, volunteers as one of the team managers for the GOSH renal transplant team.
It has been amazing to watch our team members over the years grow in confidence, try sports that they never thought they would enjoy and go on to achieve things that they never thought they would, such as attending the World Transplant Games and the Winter Transplant Games.
The biggest impact however is the friendships that are formed at the games, not only the competitors themselves but their siblings, parents, and extended families. It gives them a chance to be with families who have had similar experiences, which is invaluable.
I keep threatening to retire as team manager, but each year I attend the games, I have such an amazing weekend, that I forget all hard work and look forward to the next year!
Bring on the 2023 Games!
We asked Daisy, Ben and Jasmine what they would say to someone considering taking part in the next years Transplant Games:
I would say, do it! It’s a great time for everyone. Not just us, but for mums and dads, brothers, sisters, and anyone who supports us.
Everyone is made to feel welcome. It doesn’t matter if you’re not the fastest, or the best, or the strongest. It’s all about our team, our journey together, and being part of it will be amazing.
It’s a great experience to meet like-minded people who have gone through similar experiences to you.
See you there!
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