Norfolk trio set to represent Great Britain at World Transplant Games
A sporty trio from Norfolk who have all benefited from organ donation are set to compete in the World Transplant Games in Malaga, Spain.
The games, which begin on 25th June this year, take place every other year and aim to promote organ donation by means of sport. The games, which are supported by the International Olympic Committee and are organised by the World Transplant Games Federation, represent the largest organ donor awareness event in the world featuring a week of 17 sporting events.
Team Great Britain will join more than 1000 competing transplant athletes from 60 countries across the globe. Participating athletes have all survived a heart, lung, kidney, pancreas, liver, small bowel or bone marrow transplant.
Joining Team GB on their journey to Malaga are three Norfolk residents, all of whom receive ongoing care and monitoring of their transplants from experts at NNUH.
For Sarah Moody, a programme administrator from East Ruston, the games in Malaga will be her fifth time competing for team GB at the World Transplant Games.
Sarah, 42, received her first kidney transplant from her mum in 1993 and the kidney lasted three years before being rejected. She went on to have several years of dialysis before receiving a second transplant from an anonymous donor in 2003.
Sarah discovered the British Transplant Games at one of her follow-up clinic appointments. Already very sporty, she decided the games were something she’d really like to get involved in and she competed at her first national games in 2004. Coincidentally, the games were held in Norwich that year and Sarah took part in the badminton and some track and field events.
For Tim Adamson, a civil servant from Norwich, the British Games in his home city in 2004 were also the first time he competed in the national games. He will be travelling to his sixth World Transplant Games in Malaga this year, having previously competed in games held in Thailand, Australia, Sweden, South Africa and Argentina.
Tim, 48, received a kidney transplant from an anonymous donor in 2002 and is passionate about raising awareness of organ donation. He has previously helped organise a Transplant Sport volleyball tournament locally to raise awareness and funds to support organ donation charities.
He said: “Organ donation gave me my life back and it’s very important to me to help spread the word. The last tournament we held in Norwich was a real success and to be able to make a connection between organ donation and sport is a really positive thing.”
Tim has won gold medals at previous world games in men’s doubles and singles in the badminton competition. This year Tim will be pairing up with Sarah in the badminton mixed doubles and hopes are high that previous successes can be repeated.
Val Cooper, the third Norfolk resident travelling to compete in Malaga, will be participating in the badminton and table tennis events.
Val, who plays for Tasburgh in a local badminton league, has polycystic kidneys, a hereditary condition which causes cysts to grow in the kidneys impairing normal kidney function. As a result, Val required a transplant and in 2010, her sister travelled to the UK from New Zealand to donate one of her kidneys.
Having also competed at previous World Transplant Games, one of Val’s highlights has been playing table tennis against the Chinese team in Argentina.
She said: “Travelling to Argentina to take part was such an incredible experience. Everyone involved was so friendly and it’s amazing to meet so many people from across the world who have shared similar organ donation experiences. When we played against the Chinese team, they really were incredibly talented; it was great to be a part of such a spectacle.”
Val, who is 53, added: “At the games we’re all made to feel part of a huge family who have shared similar experiences and have embraced our second chances.”
Both Val and Tim have been supported to participate in the games in Malaga by the Norfolk Renal Fund, a charity which has strong links with the Renal Unit at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. UEA Sportspark has also donated court space and use of training facilities to help Sarah, Tim and Val in their preparations for the competition.
Sarah said: “To represent our country in sport whilst raising awareness of organ donation is an amazing privilege.
“This wouldn’t be possible without our organ donors, to whom we are all extremely grateful. We have been training very hard to ensure we do our best for ourselves, our donors, their families, our families and everyone who has supported us on our transplant journey.
“Our special thanks go to the Norfolk Renal Fund, which has enabled us to attend the games and whose logo we will be wearing proudly on the sleeve of our team GB kit.”
Dr Mark Andrews, Consultant Nephrologist at NNUH and Trustee of the Norfolk Renal Fund added: “It is wonderful to see peoples’ lives hugely improved by renal transplantation; Sarah, Val and Tim are real ambassadors for the transformative power of organ donation.
“The Norfolk Renal Fund was delighted to help support their trip to the World Transplant Games and we wish them all the best; they really are impressive people. We should all take a moment to think about those equally impressive people who have donated organs, both in life or as a gift after their death.”
To register on the NHS Organ Donor Register, please telephone 0300 123 23 23, or go to www.organdonation.nhs.uk to register online. Most importantly, please discuss your organ donation wishes with your family and friends.
To donate to the Norfolk Renal Fund, please visit – http://www.justgiving.com/norfolkrenalfund
More information on the World Transplant Games can be found at: http://wtgmalaga2017.com/en/