FROM KIDNEY FAILURE BABY TO TRANSPLANT GAMES

Two years after donating a kidney to her son Ellis, Dawn Thomas will be cheering him on at the Westfield Health British Transplant Games in Newport in July (25-28 July).

Ellis Thomas as a baby

Ellis Thomas from Bridgend was born with hydronephrosis – which means the kidneys swell due to a build up of urine. He was just eight when he had a kidney removed.


He is now 19 and his Mum couldn’t be prouder as he gears up to compete in football and the 200m in Newport. His football skills have also been spotted by the GB team and Ellis will be heading to Newcastle in August for the World Transplant Games.


“I was pregnant with Ellis when we were told about his health problems,” explains Dawn. “I was at my 20 week scan and thought everything was going well. It was then we were told that he had an enlarged kidney and that his bladder wasn’t emptying properly. It was a really worrying time.”


Ellis was born eight weeks prematurely and had a kidney removed when he was eight years old.


“It’s amazing that he is competing at the Games. We’re so excited as a family. We’ll all be there to support him and celebrate how far he has come.


“It’s a brilliant way to raise awareness of organ donation as it’s unbelievable to think of how many people are on the transplant waiting lists. Fortunately, Ellis never needed dialysis but we have seen friends go through it and how it affects their life.”


With more than 1,000 competitors taking part in 24 different sports and events, the Games, which will take place at venues across the city, promise to be a festival of sport and life, with over 2,500 people expected to attend.


Transplant survivors, including children as young as three, can take part in sports such as athletics, basketball, cycling, football, golf, snooker, swimming, tennis, volleyball and The Donor Run, an inclusive event open to the public. 


The aim of the Games – organised on behalf of charity, Transplant Sport, is to raise awareness of the importance of organ donation. Wales was the first to introduce a soft opt-out system of the organ donor register. However, the decision on organ donation is still made by loved ones. That’s why organisers are keen to spread the word that you need to make your wishes – whatever they may be - known to your family.


As of 31stDecember 2018, there were 232 patients in Wales waiting for a transplant. In the first three quarters of 2018/19, 19 patients died while on the active waiting list.


The event is supported by Westfield Health, Welsh Government, Newport City Council, Newport Live the local health boards across Wales, NHS Blood and Transplant, Kidney Care UK, Anthony Nolan Register, Donor Family Network and Believe Organ Donor Support. Further sponsors include Friars Walk, Icon Design, Rodney Parade and Celtic Manor.


Ellis Thomas and Mum Dawn Thomas

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