The County You Live, Work And Play
North Lanarkshire To Host Major Sporting Event
The British Transplant Games will take place in North Lanarkshire over four days in August 2017.
The event was officially launched at Cathedral Primary School in Motherwell and is expected to attract more than 750 transplant athletes and more than 1,500 supporters. The Games are being organised on behalf of the charity Transplant Sport and sponsored by not-for-profit health insurer Westfield Health.
The Games encompass a wide age range - from two to 70-years-old.
Some attend with the hope of being selected to compete at the World Transplant Games. Others compete simply for the camaraderie of being with others who are also benefitting from a successful organ donation.
Councillor Jim McCabe, Co-Chair of BTG North Lanarkshire 2017 and Leader of North Lanarkshire Council, said: "It is a magnificent honour for North Lanarkshire to host the British Transplant Games in 2017.
"It gives me immense pride to welcome the wider games family to North Lanarkshire, the support everyone has shown us today paints a strong picture of things to come.
"Following on from the success of the 2011 International Children's Games and more recently, as host and training venue of the 2014 Commonwealth Games, supporting the British Transplant Games is a hugely worthwhile commitment and one that North Lanarkshire is proud to make.
"These games are not solely about sport, but they have a human side too. They demonstrate the courage and personal endeavour of those who take part and the appreciation of the unimaginable pain and courage of the donor families.
"We delivered the best ever Children's Games and we will deliver the best Transplant Games."
The aim of the Games is to raise awareness of organ donation and boost numbers on the NHS Organ Donor Register (ODR).
Mr Ian Livingstone, Co-Chair of BTG North Lanarkshire 2017, added: "The British Transplant Games is held over four days, delivering a whole range of sporting opportunities, with the key aim to encourage transplant patients to regain fitness and promote friendship whilst raising awareness to the wider public.
"NL2017 will deliver an array of awareness campaigns, at local level, to educate and raise awareness of what the NHS Organ Donor Register is. Through the help and support of professionals, we aim to dispel the many myths of organ donation."
The launch was also attended by North Lanarkshire pupils Kaitlin Taylor and Joe Allan who have represented Glasgow Children's Team at several Transplant Games.
The pair are featured on the promotional materials for the 2017 North Lanarkshire Games.
Kaitlin (12) who received a kidney transplant and attends Chryston PS, said: "It's great that North Lanarkshire is hosting the games and that we'll get to take part in front of our friends and family. I love swimming, so hopefully I'll get to take part in some of those events."
Joe is 16 years old and attends Buchanan High School in Coatbridge. He had a kidney transplant on 17 May 2012.
He enjoys taking part in athletics and might try out tennis at the Newcastle Gateshead Games this summer.
Joe said: "We've taken part in many transplant games throughout Britain; it's really exciting that it's coming here. I just wish it was happening sooner."
Peter Hickey received a bone marrow transplant in 2006 following a diagnosis of non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 2004.
The 53-year-old endured a course of chemotherapy but the illness returned a year later.
Fortunately for Peter, his younger sister was a 100% tissue match and, after a bone marrow transplant, he is now in remission.
Peter became involved in the British Transplant Games in 2007 and is now Volleyball Coordinator for Transplant Sport.
He has played at the World Transplant Games in the Gold Coast, Australia; Gothenburg, Sweden; Durban in South Africa; and will this year travel to Argentine for the Games.
Peter said: "I was very fortunate that my sister was a 100% and I've not really looked back since.
"The Transplant Games are tremendous and really heartwarming to see young kids getting involved as well as the older people.
"Transplants are life saving and the Games are a celebration of life."
Athletics will be staged at Wishaw Sports Centre and swimming at the Sir Matt Busby Sports Complex in Bellshill.
All the other sports will be delivered at different sport centres around the local authority area.
There will be around 17 sports available in total.
The 2015 British Transplant Games is being staged in Newcastle/Gateshead between 30 July and 2 August.