Today (24 November 2021) the Westfield Health British Transplant Games have once again launched in Leeds, looking ahead to an event which will reunite the transplant community after almost two years of shielding.
After the 2021 Games were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the British Transplant Games are coming to Leeds and are set to be better than ever, taking place in venues across the city from 28th until 31st July 2022.
Seeking to reach and engage families and communities in Leeds and across Yorkshire and spark vital conversations around organ donation and prompt people to share their decision with loved ones, the Games will celebrate the gift of life and give the transplant community the much-needed opportunity to reconnect.
This morning, a launch event took place at Leeds Civic Hall which saw the Games’ organisers, local partners, and transplant recipients gather to mark the occasion and officially start the countdown to the British Transplant Games 2022.
James Lewis, the Leader of Leeds Council, said:
“We’re so excited to finally be able to welcome the transplant community to Leeds for the Westfield Health British Transplant Games. It’s been a long time coming, we’re ready and raring to go and are so proud to be doing our bit to raise awareness of organ donation and encourage the people of Leeds and the rest of Yorkshire to have that crucial conversation about their wishes with loved ones.”
The Games are the flagship event of Transplant Sport and aim to raise awareness of the life-saving benefits of organ donation and encourage transplant recipients to stay active post-transplant. Next summer more than 900 transplant athletes, aged from three to over 80, will travel from across the UK with family, friends, and supporters to compete in the Games, for the first time since 2019.
Dr Paul Harden, Chair of Trustees for Transplant Sport, said:
It’s exciting to know that we are getting everyone back together safely, after a long two years. Transplant recipients have faced significant challenges throughout the pandemic, so they need the chance to reconnect. At Transplant Sport, we are so grateful for the support from our sponsors, the city of Leeds, an in particular Roger Burnley for his ongoing commitment to the stakeholder board and to staging the Games. Plans are underway to make this the best Games yet!”
Anthony Clarkson, Director of Organ and Tissue Donation and Transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said:
“It’s fantastic to see the British Transplant Games getting back up and running again in 2022. After a long and difficult time during the pandemic, we know that many people will welcome the chance to come back together and once again celebrate the health, fitness, and skills made possible by their transplant.”
“In a year when we will also see the Commonwealth Games return to the UK, it is an important reminder of the importance of physical health and wellbeing and how organ donation gives the gift of life and opportunities to so many. We look forward to joining the fun in Leeds next summer and hope that the Games will continue to inspire positive conversation about organ donation and encourage many more to register for their decision and leave their family certain.”
The last time the event was held physically was in Newport in 2019, and it brought a huge boost to the local economy. It is estimated that the 2022 Games will inject around £2 million to travel across Yorkshire, as over 1,500 spectators are also expected to travel to the city to cheer competitors on.
The Westfield Health British Transplant Games are being staged with the help of continued support of Westfield Health and Kidney Care UK and local partners including Leeds Hospital Charity, Leeds City Council, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, and the University of Leeds.
Esther Wakeman, CEO of Leeds Hospitals Charity, said:
We’re proud to support the hundreds of adults, children, and families who are part of the Leeds Transplant Team. The British Transplant Games is a wonderful opportunity to bring together transplant patients and their loved ones from across the nations who share a special and unique bond. We’re so proud that Leeds will be hosting the Games next Summer, especially after they were unable to go ahead during the pandemic, we hope to make next year bigger and better than ever!
Dave Capper, Chief Executive Officer at Westfield Health, said:
We’ve been supporting the British Transplant Games for over ten years now and we’re so proud to be able to do so again in Leeds in 2022. Westfield Health is passionate about making a difference to communities and we’re always so humbled to play our part in celebrating the gift of life and raising awareness of the importance of staying active post-transplant. The last couple of years has been a tough time for us all, but we’re glad to have something to look forward to!”