Leeds Children’s Hospital recently organised a fundraising event, named the ‘Road to Coventry,’ to support the Leeds Children’s Transplant Team ahead of the British Transplant Games in Coventry. Participants, including staff, patients, families, and volunteers, took on the challenge of virtually covering the 120-mile distance between Leeds Children’s Hospital and Coventry using treadmills and static bikes at the hospital’s main reception area.

The event saw active involvement from doctors, nurses, play specialists, scientists, managers, and administrators from the hospital, along with ‘Team Leeds’ transplant recipients and their families. Supporters from Leeds Hospitals Charity and The Millie Wright Children’s Charity also joined in. Each participant contributed by cycling or walking on the treadmill for 15-30 minutes, collectively reaching the goal of arriving ‘in Coventry’ by tea time, a feat they accomplished before 15:30.

The British Transplant Games, an annual Summer event, bring together transplant patients and their families from hospitals across the UK to celebrate the gift of life and express gratitude to donor families through sports competitions.

Leeds Children’s Transplant Team comprises over 40 young individuals, aged two to sixteen, who have received liver, kidney, or stem cell transplants at Leeds Children’s Hospital. The team receives support from Leeds Hospitals Charity, which ensures that as many competitors and their loved ones as possible can attend the Games by covering expenses like registration, team kit, transport, and accommodation.

Besides raising funds for the transplant team, the event aimed to promote awareness about organ donation, encouraging participants and the community to have conversations with their families regarding organ donation decisions.

Lisa Beaumont, Leeds Children’s Transplant Team Manager said; “It’s an absolute privilege to support these inspirational children and young people, all of whom have overcome some huge challenges in their own lives and health. The British Transplant Games is a celebration of the gift of life that is given with each and every organ donation. Today we’re doing our bit to raise awareness and encourage everyone to make sure their families understand their organ donation decision.”

One of the participants, 15-year-old Ava Taylor, who had a liver transplant at the hospital when she was five, expressed the significance of the British Transplant Games, where she has been representing Leeds Children’s Transplant Team every year. Ava’s achievements include representing Team GB+NI at the World Transplant Games in Perth, Australia, where she brought home seven medals and a world record.

Esther Wakeman, CEO of Leeds Hospitals Charity joined in the challenge and spoke to us about why supporting Team Leeds is so important; “The British Transplant Games are a unique opportunity for transplant patients and their loved ones to come together with other families who have shared experiences and build life-long friendships. We are proud to support ‘Team Leeds’ every Summer thanks to generous donations and grants, which help us enable as many transplant patients as possible to attend. I would like to wish all of the participants the best of luck for the Games in Coventry!”

Members of the public are invited to show their support on the team’s JustGiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/btgchildrensteam23