The UK Transplant Games 2017

On Wednesday 26th July, I caught the 7.51 am train from Taunton to Glasgow to compete in the annual UK Transplant Games. In May 1997, I received a successful kidney transplant in St. James Hospital, Leeds and in 2002 competed in my first games in Loughborough. The Games, which started in Portsmouth in 1974 with only a handful of competitors, has gone from strength to strength and this year there were approximately 600 competitors with another 500 family and supporters. In order to accommodate so many people for four days the venues have to be university towns or cities as in late July/early August the student accommodation can be made available. In recent years, I have competed in Kent, Bolton, Newcastle, Coventry and, last year, Liverpool. The aim of the Games movement is to highlight the benefits of organ donation and try to persuade more people to join the organ donor register.

On the Thursday evening each team of competitors from Transplant units all over the country parade through the town and finish with a civic reception attended by local celebrities. Here we are welcomed and the flame is lit (like the Olympics) and the games are officially opened to huge applause.

I competed in the angling, bowls and dart competitions. I failed to make the medal places in both darts and bowls but in the angling match I exceeded all expectations and managed to win the gold medal weighing in with 3lbs 6ozs on a day when the conditions were far from ideal. It will take pride of place in my dining room cabinet,

Next year's games are in Birmingham and hopefully, health and kidney permitting, I will be there again in search of more medals.

Steve Barker

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