The Games are on!
With their running, throwing, jumping and sporting skills at the ready, the Evelina VIPs have excitedly set off for Liverpool to compete in the British Transplant Games 2016.
And there’s an extra event this year. On Saturday 30 July the children and their families are taking part in the Donor Run, a special 3km or 5km fun run to help them fundraise for their participation in The Games.
Five-year-old Riley has been a patient at Evelina London since she was born. She has a condition that causes kidney failure, meaning she had to have a kidney transplant two years ago, with her Dad as the amazing donor.
Now after her ‘life-changing’ transplant, Riley attends clinic at Evelina London every six weeks, which is the longest she’s ever had between visits. She’s lucky to lead a largely normal life, but her mum Tara says that Riley still notices her differences from other children. That’s one of the reasons that the British Transplant Games are so important, as Tara explains.
‘Riley doesn't often see children who have had a transplant, so it's nice for her to spend time with those who are in a similar situation,’ she says. ‘For example, all the kids at The Games have to drink a lot to reach their fluid target for the day, and they’ll all be taking their medication too. It's nice for Riley to feel she's not the only one. As well as having a great time!’
Overcoming obstacles, celebrating life
The Games are a fantastic way to celebrate life and demonstrate that children who have had transplants can return to fitness. Each year the VIP team managers (Grainne, Cathy and Pat), a group of dedicated volunteers and the families taking part fundraise hard to support their amazing team of Evelina VIPs.
‘A transplant is not a cure, it's a lifelong treatment and our VIPs will be attending hospital regularly for their entire lives, ‘explains Pat, Dispensary Manager at the hospital. ‘We want each child to be supported and encouraged to reach their potential in life, particularly after overcoming obstacles such as long-term illness, multiple hospital admissions and operations. The Games help them toward this goal.’
Riley will be doing the Donor Run with her teammates as well as mum, dad, and one-year-old sister Lana being pushed in her buggy – the perfect way for the whole family to take part in The Games!
‘We’re so pleased to be able to take part in the British Transplant Games,’ says Tara. ‘We never knew they existed until after Riley had her transplant, so we want more people to know about it as it's such a special thing. You can't watch an event without a tear in your eye!’
Thanks to all who have fundraised to ensure the Evelina VIPs can compete this year. A special thank you to Kia Oval and Surrey County Cricket Club, who raised £40,000 towards some of the team spaces and to help the team in the future.
There are ongoing costs surrounding Evelina London being able to send our patients to The Games each year, such as team places, travel and accommodation. Your continued support means that our terrific team can keep attending.
Find out more about the many ways you can do this!