The British Transplant Games may have an odd-sounding title, but it has a very serious purpose: raising both funds and awareness about organ donation.
The Games are held in a different city in the UK each year; this year, they will be in Belfast from the 4th-7th of August, at familiar sporting venues like the Mary Peter’s Track, Ormeau Park, and Queens Physical Centre. Approximately 700 competitors, between the ages of 2 and 82, who are recipients of a life-saving organ transplant, take part along with their friends and families.
The Transplant Games are organised by Transplant Sport UK (TSUK), a charity that seeks to demonstrate the life-changing effect of organ transplants through sports events, and to raise awareness of the desperate need for organ donation in the UK. The TSUK want to change the fact that three people in the UK die every day while waiting for an organ donation, and that less than 30% of the population have signed up to become an organ donor.
Thousands of athletes, supporters, volunteers, and spectators will descend upon Belfast this summer. (Next year, in 2012, the Transplant Games will take place in Medway, immediately after the Olympic Games and before the Paralymptic Games.) The four-day event will feature all kinds of sports, including badminton, swimming, cycling, golf, and table tennis.
The Games will welcome the athletes and their families with a parade the very first day, starting in the Belfast City Hall and continuing through the city centre. Belfast is preparing for the Games the weekend before they begin, with a spin charity fundraiser at Queen’s PEC, Botanic Park, on 24 June. On Saturday the 6th of August, a Donor Run at Ormeau Park will take place to raise funds and awareness for organ donation and for the Games. If you would like to part, show your support or simply enjoy the parade and sports event then check out the Jurys Inn range of hotels in Belfast.