Bradford Teaching Hospitals’ Organ Donation Champion is attending the World Transplant Games which are underway currently in Australia.
Karen Piotr, Chairperson of the Foundation Trust’s Organ Donation Committee, is visiting the event in Perth, which began on 14 April, as Team Great Britain captain for donor families and live donors.
She is part of a team of 123 transplant athletes and 100 supporters who have travelled ‘down under’ to compete and cheer on competitors.
Karen became an advocate for organ donation after she was able to support her husband Mark’s decision to become an organ donor after he died suddenly in 2017.
She said; “I was truly honoured to have been chosen to read a poem on behalf of all donor families at the remembrance service last Saturday (15 April).
“I wore the beautiful owl dress that Mark always loved. It was such a special service and it’s an absolute privilege to attend the World Transplant Games.”
During my time at the Games, I am also taking part in a poignant beach walk, where there will be a moment of reflection observed by donor families to honour those who have given the gift of life to so many others across the world.
Athletes competing at the World Transplant Games have all survived heart, lung, kidney, pancreas, liver, small bowel or bone marrow transplants and come from all four corners of the UK. Ages range from 12-to-73 years old.
Karen added; “Competitors have been dedicating enormous amounts of time and effort to keeping fit and training regularly. They will be supported at the Games by a team of doctors and physios.
“The whole ‘Team GB’ are ambassadors for organ donation and are a shining example of just what the second chance of life can do, in helping transplantees achieve wonderful things and giving them the chance to compete against others from all around the world is just amazing.”
A total of 60 countries are represented, with 1,500 participants travelling to Perth.
Events range from darts to cycling, squash to swimming with a total of 17 different sporting events over seven days.
Dr. Paul Harden, Chair of Trustees for Transplant Sport, said; “The Games are 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.
For more information on the World Transplant Games, visit www.worldtransplantgames.org