Hammersmith go for gold at Transplant Games

A team of patients who received transplants at Hammersmith Hospital, part of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, had a successful trip to Lanarkshire in Scotland this weekend after competing in the 40th British Transplant games.

The team, sponsored by the West London Kidney Patients’ Association (WLKPA) and Kidney Care UK, was made up of patients who had received kidney or double transplants over the past 15 years. They collectively won 17 medals after competing with teams from across the UK.

The British Transplant Games exists to encourage those who have received a transplant to lead active and healthy lives while showcasing the benefits of transplantation, and in doing so, to raise awareness of the need for more people to sign on to the NHS Organ Donor Register.

Over 750 inspiring athletes from across the UK, each of whom has received a lifesaving organ transplant, took part in 23 different sporting activities over the 4 day event. Athletes aged between 3 and 81 competed in competitions including archery, athletics, golf, squash, snooker, tennis and swimming.

Rebecca Gouveia, Deputy General Manager for Renal at the Trust, said: “It’s fantastic to see our patients taking part in the Transplant Games and they had their best year yet with 17 medals. The games are an amazing way to both celebrate and raise awareness of organ donation.” 

Laura, one of the Hammersmith team supporters, said: "When my partner told me about the games, I wasn't particularly enthusiastic. I'd never heard of it before, and I'm not the most athletic person, so didn't think it would be my cup of tea. Nonetheless, my partner wanted me there to support him so I agreed to go. I couldn't be more glad I did!

"The atmosphere was like no other. We felt instantly welcomed and part of not only a team but a wonderful community. I've never seen my partner look so comfortable. We were surrounded by people who understood, from the perspective of a recipient and of a loved one. It was a chance to ask questions and talk freely about subjects that people don't often talk about. And it was so much fun! There were so many sporting events that I'd never been interested in before, that were suddenly exciting and fun to me because of the spirit involved. Next year I plan on taking part in an event and my partner is going to try some new sports."

The kidney and transplant service at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust is a regional renal (kidney) and transplant medicine centre, looking after over 3500 patients on renal replacement therapy and performing an average of 170 kidney transplants a year. It is also the largest facility of its kind in Europe.