The British Transplant Games will take place in Belfast from 4-7 August 2011 and exists to showcase the benefits of transplantation, encourage those who have had a transplant to lead active and healthy lives' and highlight the desperate need for more organ donors across the UK. The event will see around 500 athletes, each of whom have received a life saving organ transplant, take part in the 20 sporting activities during the four day period. While competition will undoubtedly be fierce, each of the athletes have already won the race...the race for life.
Each year the torch is displayed across various locations in the host city and links the previous year's host city to the current venue.
The displaying of the torch is an exciting time for athletes and supporters alike. It symbolises the 'gift of life', gives thanks to organ donors and their families and provides an excellent opportunity to promote the NHS Organ Donor Register and encourage everyone in Northern Ireland to sign up.
The torch was displayed in Northern Ireland in 1998 when the Games were last in Belfast. Since then, there has been an increase in people signing the NHS Organ Donor Register. There are now over 495,000 people in Northern Ireland signed up to the register, which represents 28% of the population. While this is a fantastic achievement, there are still not enough organs available for those who desperately need them.
Dr Eddie Rooney, Chief Executive of the Public Health Agency and Chair of the local organising committee for the Games, said, "I am delighted to see the Transplant Games Torch back in Belfast. The games are a very exciting time for everyone involved, and I would like to thank Belfast City Airport for their kindness and generosity in sponsoring the Belfast adults' team.
Displaying the torch in Belfast City Airport today in front of many people from across the world is a great way of giving thanks to donor families and is a symbol of hope for all those waiting for a transplant. With the Games fast approaching, I would like to encourage everyone who has not yet signed the NHS Organ Donor Register to please do so today."
Ruth Morgan of Belfast City Airports Community Fund Committee said, "We are delighted that our Community Fund can extend its support to such an inspirational event. We hope our backing of the event will help raise awareness of the significance of the games and the number of lives that are dependent on organ transplantation.
We are excited that the torch will begin its journey from Belfast City Airport, and we wish the Belfast Team every success during the games, and through their personal journeys, and also, Transplant Sport UK in their goal to raise the number of organ donors throughout the UK."
Sign up today and help save a life in Northern Ireland - Call: 0300 123 23 23, text SAVE to 84118 or visit http://www.organdonation.nhs.uk/ukt/how_to_become_a_donor/registration/consent.jsp?campaign=1938