Last weekend (27-30 July 2023) the Westfield Health British Transplant Games took Coventry by storm as over 2700 transplant recipients, live donors, donor families and supporters gathered for four days of sport, celebrations, and surprises to mark the Sapphire anniversary of the Games.
The long-awaited British Transplant Games was one of the largest gatherings of transplant recipients since the Games commenced 45 years ago, making Coventry the second biggest Games of all time.
Across the weekend, the flagship event of charity Transplant Sport saw 28 events take place, over 2000 medals given out and over 2000 runners joined the largest ever annual Donor Run in Coventry War Memorial Park, which is the only event open to everyone and designed to thank donors and donor families for giving the ultimate gift of life.
A highlight of the weekend was the Childrens Events on Friday which saw 500 transplant recipients and their siblings take part in Obstacle Course Races, Sports Hall Athletics, Ball Throw, Long Jump and Cup Stacking. Alongside these events there were also craft activities, musical workshops and come and try sports sessions for the whole family to get involved with.
Transplant Sport and Games organisers have also worked in partnership with NHS Blood and Transplant to develop the Coventry and Warwickshire Donor Card, designed to leave a legacy and a commitment to organ donation in the region as the Games move on.
Following the changes to organ donation law in England in May 2020, all adults are considered to be organ donors unless they ‘opt out’. However, families still have the ability to override this decision, so it’s now more important than ever for people to have the conversation about organ donation wishes with their loved ones and confirm their decision.
Les Ratcliffe, Chair of the British Transplant Games’ Stakeholder Board, said: “The past four years have been so tough for the transplant community and this weekend really was the most joyous celebration of life.
“It was an absolute pleasure to see transplant communities gather in Coventry for what was one of the biggest celebrations of organ donation yet.
“I’m so proud to be part of the campaign to keep organ donation on the agenda in Coventry with the specific Coventry and Warwickshire organ donor card. These cards will be an amazing tool for encouraging families to have those important conversations.
“The Games was a weekend to remember, but for me, the work doesn’t stop here. I’m determined to keep people in Coventry and Warwickshire talking!”
Planning is now underway for the next Games, which will be held in Nottingham from the 1 - 4 August 2024. For more information on the British Transplant Games and how you can get involved, visit:
The British Transplant Games was staged with the support of over 20 sponsors that collectively generated over £250,000, including long-term partners Westfield Health, Kidney Care UK and Anthony Nolan and crucial local supporters such as Coventry City Council, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire charity, University of Warwick and Coventry University.