SURVIVORS of life-threatening illnesses will be taking part in the British Transplant Games in Sheffield next year.
Natalie Acott, aged 18, from Woodhouse in Sheffield, David Horner, 43, from Broom in Rotherham, and Michael Lord, 27, from Rawmarsh, have each had organ transplants and are competing in the games between August 15 and 18.
Michael was diagnosed with renal failure nine years ago and will be taking part in the games to help promote transplant awareness and to increase his fitness.
He has had two kidney transplants in recent years and has since found a new lease of life.
He said: “My first transplant was unsuccessful, but after my second the difference was amazing. I no longer had to restrict my fluid intake and I could eat whatever I wanted. All of a sudden I had the energy to enjoy life again.
“None of this would have been possible without the unselfish act of someone out there adding their name to the Organ Donor Register.”
Transplant Sport UK, the charity behind the games, hopes to encourage more people to sign the Donor Register and to discuss their wishes with family members.
Michael, who works for Superdrug, said: “I’m eternally grateful to that person and their family, and so by taking part in the Games and showcasing my new lease of life I hope to give something back and help donor families to see their loved ones didn’t die in vain – they’ve given somebody the gift of life.”
The games, which have been held annually since 1978, will take place at various locations throughout Sheffield.
Team members will be competing in sports including swimming, running, archery, golf, fishing, and many more.
The Transplant Games are designed to raise awareness of the benefits of transplantation, and the importance of people signing up to become new donors.
Sheffield Transplant Team manager Betty Rayner said: “I’m delighted to see our team growing.
“We’re urging people across South Yorkshire to get involved – whether that’s through volunteering, fundraising, sponsorship or, most importantly, becoming an organ donor.
“Let’s show the rest of the UK the difference we can make!”
Sheffield hosted the Games in 2008 and organisers are looking forward to being host city once again.
Transplant Games facts:
Minimum number of participants expected in the Transplant Games - 600
Number of sporting locations across Sheffield used during the Games - 9
Number of different sports contestants will be competing in during the Games - 18