For the first time ever, a group of stem cell recipients came together to form Team Anthony Nolan to compete at the Westfield Health British Transplant Games 2015 in NewcastleGateshead.
The team had an unforgettable experience at the games for their special debut from the opening ceremony to the very last events. Team Anthony Nolan consisted of 9 athletes who took part in 17 events and we are delighted to share that they came back with 15 medals.
Chiara DeBiase, Head of Patient Experience at Anthony Nolan said, “We had a fantastic time in NewcastleGateshead and I want to thank our amazing team, the organisers of the games and all the other competitors who gave us such a warm welcome.
“We were very proud to partner with the British Transplant Games 2015 and it proved to be such a rewarding experience for all involved. It was fantastic to win so many medals but the real success story from the games was to see everyone celebrating life post-transplant. We are already looking forward to the next year’s games in Liverpool which I’m sure will be even bigger and better.”
Anthony Nolan is now looking to expand the team to compete at the next British Transplant Games which are to be held in Liverpool 2016 28th – 31st July.
To give a taste of what it’s like to compete at the Games, here is what our Team Anthony Nolan heroes had to say:
Alex Rowe-Gonzalez, whose 9 year old son Sam competed in the 5k mini marathon said, “Sam had a wonderful time, it has done his confidence the world of good, and it was fantastic to see him receive his medal. Sam has missed out on a lot because he has been poorly, but this was truly one of the happiest weekends we've had as parents.”
Sam and Alex Rowe-Gonzalez
Nadia, who competed in the cycling, swimming, the ‘mini-marathon’ and the 1500m, said, “The games truly are for anyone who has had a transplant, at whatever stage of rehabilitation they are at, and at ages stretching from under 5s to over 70s. The range of abilities was broad to say the least, but that absolutely added to the incredible atmosphere and feeling of all-inclusiveness.
“At the end of the weekend I went home with two silver and two bronze medals. Far more importantly, I had had an incredibly emotional, memorable and inspiring weekend and one that will stay with me for a very long time. I can’t wait to go to the next games in Liverpool in 2016!”
Nadia with her one of her medals!
William Laughton, who competed in the cycling, said, “I would really encourage everyone to take part in the Games. There are loads of different sports and activities to take part in to suit everyone. Being part of a team with people that had gone through the same as you is weird, but in a really good way!
“Taking part in the Games gives you something to aim for and focus on, and slowly but surely you can feel yourself getting fitter, which can only be a good thing.”
William Black and William Laughton
George Norton, who is 15 months post transplant and took part in the lawn bowls, said, “If anyone is reading this and thinking about signing up for next year - do it! It's a great excuse to do something different, meet new people and visit a new city – and, best of all, by having a transplant you've already qualified! A stem cell transplant can seem to limit some parts of life, but this is one great event you can only take part in as a result of what you've been through – a new opportunity definitely worth seizing.
“It doesn't matter if you're not super-fit or a regular sportsperson; I took part in lawn bowls as a beginner and got knocked out at the first stage, but thoroughly enjoyed myself and took huge pride and joy in having managed to take part – and have discovered a new sport I'm planning to continue!”
George Norton at the Transplant Games
Simon Perkins, who competed in the mini marathon and the 1500m said, “It was an amazing experience. It’s fantastic to receive such wonderful support and to meet donors, helpers, medics, supporters and fellow recipients and their families. It was lovely to see young and old of all abilities competing and all having fun.”
Team Anthony Nolan are now recruiting for the next British Transplant Games which will be held in Liverpool from the 28th – 31st July, 2016 If you would like to register your interest for Liverpool 2016, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your details. We will be in touch later once registration is open for the games.
Is there an age limit?
Transplant recipients of all ages can compete at the British Transplant Games, from the under 5s to the over 70s.
I’m still having some treatment. Am I able to compete?
Yes – as long as you can have some recent blood tests signed off by your transplant consultant and they are happy for you to do the events you have selected then you can compete.
What events can I take part in?
There are a variety of events to take part in for children and adults, which suit all abilities and different stages people are in post transplant.
To give an idea, here is a list of the events from this year:
Adults: Snooker, Archery, Squash, Ten Pin Bowling, Darts, Tennis, Table Tennis, Golf, Cycling, Volleyball, Walking, Mini Marathon (3-5k), Lawn Bowls, Soft Cricket, Badminton, Swimming and a range of track and field events
Children: Tennis, Table Tennis, Volleyball, Cycling, Walking, Swimming, Badminton and Track and Field events
What costs do Anthony Nolan cover?
We aim to cover the costs of the registration fee which for 2015 was £35 per competitor or registered supporter.
Can donors take part?
YES! Donors can compete in the donor run and the donor relay in the swimming. We are hoping to get a team of lifesavers together for Liverpool 2016. If you are a donor and want to compete then please register your interest by emailing Chiara.email@example.com