Hundreds of transplant patients took part in the 2019 Westfield Health British Transplant Games hosted in Newport, Wales this summer. Representatives from Kidney Research UK enjoyed four days of sport and conversation about patient experiences and research.
The games kicked off with an Olympic-style parade during the opening ceremony, culminating in the lighting of the Donor Flame. Transplant recipients competed in a wealth of sports and found out more about the work of charity sponsors, including Kidney Research UK.
Expert researchers joined Kidney Research UK’s stand, helping raise awareness of the organisation’s work and giving attendees the chance to experience some hands-on medical puzzles.
Dr Bob Steadman from the Wales Kidney Research Unit in Cardiff brought along his felt stick-on organ tabard as a fun test of the anatomy. Dr Sian Griffin, also from Cardiff, shared her research looking at improving transplant opportunities for patients who are sensitised due to increased antibody levels.
Dr Carl May and Dr Gavin Welsh from Bristol University gave an interactive demonstration showing how the kidney’s filtering system works and what happens when the system breaks down using water, sand, marbles and sieves.
A united community
The British Transplant Games provides an excellent opportunity for the organisation to talk to patients and hear their stories, explains Sarah Harwood, transplant recipient and patient involvement officer at Kidney Research UK.
“From three-year-old Mia, the youngest competitor who had only learned to walk a few weeks ago, to Mike competing at 83 after a kidney transplant 11 years ago, it is impossible not to feel emotional seeing this united community and the true impact of the gift of life.
“This is a highlight of the year for the charity. Seeing people who have gone through such adversity, and still face challenges every day, achieving so much together is incredibly inspiring. These are the people we are working to help, and it is a joy to be part of their celebrations and show them what we are doing to make things better. We’re also very grateful to our two fantastic volunteers who gave up their time to help us on our stands and hand out medals. Lesley and Holly were a brilliant addition to our team over the weekend.”