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Evelina London triumph at Transplant Games

Posted on Thursday 10th August 2017
Young people from the Evelina London VIPs team getting ready for the British Transplant Games 2017

Young members of the Evelina VIP team getting ready for the opening ceremony of the British Transplant Games.

A team of 31 Evelina London patients and their families celebrated success at the British Transplant Games in North Lanarkshire. Each year hundreds of children and adults from around the country take part in the Games to celebrate transplants.

Evelina London’s Transplant Games team, the Evelina London VIPs, are a group of patients who have all received care at Evelina London following a kidney transplant. Along with their families, volunteers and staff from Evelina London, the team competed in track and field, swimming, archery, tennis and much more.

The team included young people from 4-17 years in age, as well as a team of parent donors. Together they brought home 58 medals – including 20 Gold, 20 Silver and 18 Bronze – and won the Best Children’s Kidney Team.

Grainne Walsh, Transplant Advanced Nurse Practitioner at Evelina London, led the team along with Cathy Gill, senior play specialist, Pat Hayes, dispensary manager, and seven other volunteers. She said: “Being able to take part in the Games means so much to our patients and their families, particularly as young people with transplants will be patients for life. One sibling who was at the Games for the first time described them as the best days of her life!”

Nadine Guest, age 8, took part in the Games for the seventh time. She said: “I enjoyed everything about the Games, especially winning a gold medal and meeting all my Evelina hospital friends. The Evelina Gala night was the simply the best. I’m looking forward to the next British Transplant Games very much.”

The games in numbers:

  • 31 – Evelina VIPs, competitors who have received a kidney transplant at Evelina London.
  • 12 – parents taking part who have donated a kidney to their child.
  • 58 – total medals won by the team. 20 gold, 20 silver, 18 bronze.
  • 1st – the team won the Best Children’s Kidney Team for the second year in a row.

A special thanks goes to all who supported the team in getting to the Games. One hundred and fifteen patients, staff and volunteers raised funds by taking part in a ‘Get Colourful’ fundraising event where participants dressed in their brightest clothes in exchange for a donation.

The team also received generous donations from the Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity, Guy’s and St Thomas’ Kidney Patients Association and Kidney Care UK.

Here’s what other young competitors had to say about their time at the Games:

Rian, age 13: “It's not fun seeing friends unwell, but when I go to the British Transplant Games and catch up with friends, especially those from other hospitals, it's wonderful to know that they have had a good year with their own transplant and we have all made it to the games.

“It's nice to see a smile on everyone's face even when they may have had bad times like me. I feel inspired and look up to the older children, not because I’m so small for my age, but because they take the time to support and help me in my sports and to be a better athlete, it's my ambition to aim to compete at the World Transplant Games just as they have had the opportunity of doing.”

Arun, age 14: “As a big brother I like to support my younger brother Rian. The British Transplant Games is a great experience, it’s lovely to see other people like my brother competing and it’s wonderful for me to have the opportunity to meet up with friends who have all shared similar experiences to me and my family over the years. All our lives have been hard at times, but when I see all the mums and dads cheering with their children and athletes it makes me feel we can all overcome challenges in life. It’s my holiday.”

Cissy, age 17: “The experience made me realise, not only about others, but myself too, that transplantation isn’t a thing to be ashamed of or hide, and it isn’t something that can hold you back or stop you from doing things, but it’s something that you should be proud of – like really, really proud of – and that it doesn’t necessarily effect your ability to achieve the things you want to in life.”