The Lord Mayor of Sheffield Cllr Arthur Dunworth welcomed transplant athletes and more than 90 guests from across the UK at the official launch of 31st Westfield Health British Transplant Games 2008 at the World Snooker Academy at the English Institute of Sport, Sheffield.
The Games title sponsors Westfield Health hosted the launch along with Mr Andrew Raftery, Renal Transplant Surgeon at the Sheffield Kidney Institute, Northern General Hospital. Attendees included representatives from the Sheffield health, sport and business communities, transplant athletes and their families.
The annual British Transplant Games, event managed by Sheffield-based Montgomery Leisure Services Ltd on behalf of the charity Transplant Sport UK (TSUK), is one of the biggest annual multi-sports events in the UK and will take place at venues across the city from 7th until 11th August 2008.
With almost 1,000 recipients of life-saving organ transplant taking part, aged between two and 82, and above 2,000 supporters, the Games are set to deliver more than £2.5m of economic impact to the Sheffield City region.
The aim of the Games is to encourage transplant patients to regain fitness, demonstrate the benefits of organ transplantation and most importantly to promote awareness of the need for more people to sign on to the Organ Donor Register and discuss their wishes with their families.
The Games have been staged annually since 1978 in 15 host cities and were last hosted in Sheffield in 1995, when Westfield Health were again a key supporter and sponsor of the Games. The transplant athletes participate in 18 sports including track and field, golf, swimming, tennis and cycling.
Westfield Health Chairman Graham Moore said: “It is great news that Sheffield is hosting the 31st British Transplant Games and we are delighted to be title sponsors of the Games. The Games are inspirational and a great way to raise awareness of organ donation. Transplant Sport UK is a very worthwhile charity and the Games provide a real showcase of the benefits of organ donation and prove that transplantees can lead a normal and active life again after transplantation. I carry a donor card myself and would encourage everyone to sign up to the NHS Organ Donor Register and be a hero by giving the gift of life."