The Westfield Health British Transplant Games are coming to Newport this month - and organisers are inviting community groups in the area to play a part of the opening ceremony on July 25.
The four-day flagship event of Transplant Sport - for which the South Wales Argus is official media partner - attracts around 2,500 transplant recipients, live donors, donor families and supporters to venues across the city to take part in and watch 23 sports including track and field, swimming, cycling, badminton, walking and table tennis.
The curtain-raiser is the opening ceremony, which will see teams from hospitals across the UK come together to march into Rodney Parade - including a team from Wales.
“The event is a real celebration of the gift of life. It really is a fantastic display of the benefits of organ donation. We are so excited to invite almost 1,000 transplant recipients - as well as live donors and donor families - to Newport," said Dr Paul Harden, who chairs Transplant Sport.
“We are looking for community groups who can provide a warm, Welsh welcome and be part of the audience.
"We would love the South Wales community to be a part of what will be an incredibly inspirational evening.”
Paul Bristow, Acting Chief Executive of Kidney Care UK - a key partner in the Games - said: “We can’t wait to be a part of an incredible opening ceremony and an incredible Games.
"It’s always hugely inspiring to see the athletes from hospitals all over the UK parade in - many of whom wouldn’t be with us today, had it not been for the generosity of donors and donor families.”
The opening ceremony has also been made possible thanks to Rodney Parade, which will also host the darts competition and a social event.
The aim of the Games is to raise awareness of the importance of organ donation. Wales was the first to introduce a soft opt-out system of the organ donor register. However, the decision on organ donation is made by loved ones. That is why organisers are keen to spread the word that you need to make your wishes - whatever they may be - known to your loved ones.
As of December 31 2018, there were 232 patients in Wales waiting for a transplant. In the first three quarters of 2018/19, 19 patients died while on the active waiting list.
The event is supported by Westfield Health, Welsh Government, Newport City Council, Newport Live, the local health boards across Wales, NHS Blood and Transplant, Kidney Care UK, Anthony Nolan Register, Donor Family Network and Believe Organ Donor Support. Further sponsors include Friars Walk, Icon Design, Rodney Parade and the Celtic Manor Resort.
If you belong to a community group and are interested in being part of the opening ceremony audience, send an e-mail to BTG@mlsgb.co
You can find out more about The Westfield Health British Transplant Games here https://www.britishtransplantgames.co.uk/