Northern Ireland sportspeople are set to compete for gold at the Westfield Health British Transplant Games, taking place in Medway, England from Thursday 23 August, and the Public Health Agency (PHA) has extended its best wishes to the Belfast team.
Dr Eddie Rooney, Chief Executive of the Public Health Agency and Chair of the Northern Ireland Committee for Organ Donation, said: “Tomorrow the Northern Ireland transplant athletes will begin to defend the titles they won at last years British Transplant Games held in Belfast.”
The games exist to showcase the benefits of transplantation, to encourage those who have had a transplant to lead active and healthy lives and to highlight the desperate need for more organ donors across the UK. The event will see around 1,000 athletes, each of whom has received a life saving transplant, take part in sporting activities during the four day period.
Dr Rooney continued: “The games are an exciting time for all. Sportspeople from all across the UK will be competing to win medals and beat their own personal best. Spectators can attend various sporting events and watch in awe as transplant recipients go head-to-head for medal glory. The games are an excellent opportunity to come together, celebrate life and show support for organ donation. There are now over 532,500 registrants on the Organ Donation Register in Northern Ireland, over 30,000 more people than on the first day of the Transplant Games in August 2011.
“The games are not only a great opportunity to create awareness of the need for organ donors and give thanks to donor families for their generosity and support, but are a great way to celebrate the ‘gift of life’. Without a life-saving transplant many of the athletes would not be able to compete today, for that I know they are all tremendously grateful. I would like to personally congratulate all of them on their achievements so far, and wish them all the very best in each of their sporting events.
“We all have the opportunity to help others in need and save lives by joining the Organ Donor Register and by discussing our wish to donate an organ with family and friends.
"I would ask everyone in Northern Ireland, who has not already done so, to take the simple step today of registering on the Organ Donor Register; it is one of the most generous things a human being can do to help others.” Dr Rooney concluded.
For further information, please contact the PHA Communications on 028 9055 3663
Notes to the editor
You can join the NHS Organ Donor Register by filling in a form online at www.organdonation.nhs.uk, texting save to 84118 or calling the NHS Donor line on 0300 123 23 23.