Transplant Games here we come!

Posted on Thursday 30th July 2015
Evelina London at the Transplant Games

Competitive youngsters from Evelina London Children’s Hospital are gearing up to take part in the British Transplant Games which got underway in Newcastle today (Thursday 30 July).

30 Evelina VIPs aged between three and 18, who have all had kidney transplants at Evelina London, will be competing in a range of sports against transplant patients from other children’s hospitals across the UK.

The British Transplant Games have been held every year since 1978. The event aims to demonstrate the benefits of transplantation by encouraging patients to regain fitness and increasing public awareness of the need for more people to join the NHS Organ Donation Register.

Nicole Mackenzie, 17, from Portsmouth, had a kidney transplant at Evelina London when she was 11 and has competed in the Transplant Games every year since. Earlier this year she did a skydive in Australia to raise money for the VIPs.

She says: “My skydive was my way of saying thank you to the Evelina VIP team for arranging such an amazing weekend every year, and for their great care and support.

“I have come away from the Games every year with many medals and awards from competing, but none of my achievements would have been possible without my transplant.”

Evelina VIP team managers, senior play specialist Cathy Gill, paediatric transplant nurse specialist Grainne Walsh, and pharmacy manager Pat Hayes, accompany the team to the Games each year along with their team of dedicated volunteers.

Grainne says: “Our Evelina London children who have transplants will be patients for life. The Games give us an opportunity to support our children and their families, they are a real celebration of life! They are also a great opportunity for patients and staff to be together in a fun environment outside of the hospital.

“Our staff and volunteers give up so much of their time to arrange this event each year, some of us have been coming for more than 20 years!

“We’d like to thank Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity for their continued support, and Virgin East Coast Trains who kindly gave all our VIPs free train tickets to Newcastle!”

To keep up-to-date with how the Evelina VIPs are doing at the British Transplant Games, follow @EvelinaLondon Twitter and @evelina_vips Twitter accounts.

To join the NHS Organ Donor Register and help save lives, text SAVE to 62323, call 0300 123 2323 or visit the NHS organ donation website.

You can also sign up to the separate Anthony Nolan Register, the UK’s largest bone marrow register. If you are aged 16-30 and in good health, you can sign up to donate bone marrow by joining the Anthony Nolan Register.