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Organ donation survivors take part in World Transplant Games in Spain

PUBLISHED: 17:34 23 June 2017

(L-R) Sarah Moody, Tim Adamson, and Val Cooper will compete in the World Transplant Games. Photo: NNUH

(L-R) Sarah Moody, Tim Adamson, and Val Cooper will compete in the World Transplant Games. Photo: NNUH

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Three Norfolk recipients of organ donation will compete in the largest organ donor awareness event in the world: the World Transplant Games.

The biannual World Transplant Games begin in Malaga, Spain, on June 25 and aim to promote organ donation via sport.

More than 1,000 transplant athletes from 60 countries will participate.

All of them have survived either a heart, lung, kidney, pancreas, liver, small bowel or bone marrow transplant.

The event is a week of 17 sporting events, which are supported by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and organised by the World Transplant Games Federation.

Norfolk’s entrants receive ongoing care and monitoring of their transplants from experts at NNUH.

Sarah Moody, 42, from East Runton, is competing for Team GB for the fifth time after receiving her first kidney transplant from her mum in 1993.

The kidney was eventually rejected, and she went on to have several years of dialysis before receiving a second transplant from an anonymous donor in 2003. Sarah competed at her first national games in 2004, in Norwich.

Sarah said: “To represent our country in sport whilst raising awareness of organ donation is an amazing privilege.

“This wouldn’t be possible without our organ donors, to whom we are all extremely grateful.

“We have been training very hard to ensure we do our best for ourselves, our donors, their families, our families and everyone who has supported us on our transplant journey.”

Tim Adamson, 48, from Norwich, also competed nationally for the first time in his home city in 2004.

This year’s event will be his sixth World Transplant Games, and he has previously competed in games held in Thailand, Australia, Sweden, South Africa and Argentina.

Mr Adamson received a kidney transplant from an anonymous donor in 2002.

He said: “Organ donation gave me my life back and it’s very important to me to help spread the word.

“To be able to make a connection between organ donation and sport is a really positive thing”.

Val Cooper, 53, from Tasbrugh, has polycystic kidneys. The hereditary condition led to her requiring a transplant. In 2010, her sister travelled to the UK from New Zealand to donate one of her kidneys.

She said: “It’s amazing to meet so many people from across the world who have shared similar organ donation experiences”.

She added: “At the games we’re all made to feel part of a huge family who have shared similar experiences and have embraced our second chances”.

Val and Tim have been supported to participate in the games in Malaga by the Norfolk Renal Fund, a charity with links to the Renal Unit at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH).

The University of East Anglia (UEA) Sportspark has also donated court space and use of training facilities to help Sarah, Tim and Val in their preparations for the competition.

Sarah said: “Our special thanks go to the Norfolk Renal Fund, which has enabled us to attend the games and whose logo we will be wearing proudly on the sleeve of our team GB kit”.

Dr Mark Andrews, Consultant Nephrologist at NNUH and Trustee of the Norfolk Renal Fund said: “It is wonderful to see peoples’ lives hugely improved by renal transplantation.

“Sarah, Val and Tim are real ambassadors for the transformative power of organ donation.

“The Norfolk Renal Fund was delighted to help support their trip to the World Transplant Games and we wish them all the best.

“We should all take a moment to think about those equally impressive people who have donated organs, both in life or as a gift after their death.”

According to the NHS Blood and Transplant figures there were 4,995 people waiting to receive a kidney transplant as of March 31 2017.

From April 1 2016 to March 31 2017 there have been 2,159 deceased kidney donors and 920 living donors.

To register on the NHS Organ Donor Register, call 0300 123 23 23, or go to www.organdonation.nhs.uk to register online.

To donate to the Norfolk Renal Fund, please visit - http://www.justgiving.com/norfolkrenalfund

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