The Believe Choir at the Exhibition
The Opening Ceremony
Children's Track and Field Event
Children's Gala Event
The Believe Choir performing at the Exhibition
The Believe Choir were invited to perform at the opening of the British Transplant Games' Exhibition at Friar's Walk Shopping Centre in Newport. They sang Calon Lan and they were amazing!
Ricky Hellyar, Trustee and Choir Organiser, said that "Attending the British Transplant Games was truly inspirational. The transplant games highlighted the profound impact that transplantation can have on recipients as well as recognising the courage and generosity of donors and donor families. To be able to participate in the fun run and singing with family, friends, colleagues and students is something that will stay with me forever".
The Opening Ceremony
The official Opening Ceremony of the British Transplant Games took place at Rodney Parade in Newport. There was cheerleeding, gymnastics and singing performances which were fantastic, followed by all the teams that were taking part!
Mike Stephens, Trustee and Transplant Surgeon, said of the event "I had the privilege of being the Medical Director for the British Transplant Games held in Newport last month, which was a very rewarding and interesting experience. The role required me to make sure the almost 1000 competitors were fit to compete in their chosen events, as well as being part of the organising committee leading up to the games. During the games themselves I was mostly occupied with assessing competitors and looking after the few medical problems that occurred, but I did manage to see a fair bit of the competitions as well. The opening ceremony was spectacular and it was so amazing to see and be part of the standing ovation for the donor families (including our own Anna-Louise) and live donors as they paraded around Rodney Parade. Spine tingling!
The events themselves were really inspiring. Seeing so many different transplant recipients giving it their all within an atmosphere of encouragement, but also friendly competition was great. I managed to see the Welsh team playing their first couple of games before I got called away and their team working and camaraderie was wonderful to observe. Probably the highlight event for me was the donor run. Thousands of runners giving their all in honour of donors and their families- amazing. There were plenty of Believe runners out there too, as well as the Believe bear of course! Also two Newport police officers who raced over the finish line (I don’t know if they ran the whole course or gatecrashed but it was nice to see either way!).
Overall a wonderful experience and with the help of Welsh Government lots of positive promotion of the messages around organ donation and transplantation."
The Cycling Event
We went to show our support at the team cycling event in Cardiff and bumped into some of the Welsh team! We are planning on doing a sponsored cycle around all the Dialysis Units in Cardiff later this year, with other charities, to continue to raise awareness about organ donation in Wales.
Nursing Student, Amin Idjer, said "the Games was a truly inspiring and amazing experience to be part of, I would gladly take part in more events in future. I honestly feel that the transplant games is a lovely way of bringing communities from all walks of life together to celebrate life itself and inspires people to unite in a positive act of regaining fitness."
The Donor Run
Over 1500 people took part in the Donor Run, including a huge gathering of our very own Believe team and supporters. It was wonderful to watch everybody cross the finish line, including our Fraser Bear Mascot, and we raised over £1600!!!
Mike Weir, part of our Believe family, said "We are so grateful that Believe gave us the opportunity to be part of the British Transplant Games. Being among friends, those with shared experiences and a hugely supportive crowd was truly uplifting. Most of all we were so proud to see our little kidney warrior complete a 3k run with an amazing sprint finish, only 4 months post transplant. A fantastic example of the power of organ donation."
Children's Track & Field Event
As official sponsor's of the Children's Track & Field Event we awarded all the participants with their very own Fraser Bear to take home. We received many wonderful comments that the children were delighted with their bears and we have now extended the offer of a Fraser Bear to all the hospitals that took part.
Anna-Louise Bates, Founder and Chair of Believe, said "The Transplant Games in Newport was so important for Believe and such a pleasure to be part of at every level. I was personally involved as a member of the wonderful donor family network as well as being on the committee with the marketing and promotion for the event and assisting Welsh Government with their roadshow. Being so actively involved was difficult and emotional but the experience was phenomenal. There are so many high points for me:
- Walking around Rodney Parade with the donor families at the opening ceremony.
- Having our article about our school programme in the Mirror on the Friday and seeing it up telling all of those what progress we were making with our education model.
- The donor run. Running with Frasers friends and being supported by family and friends. This raised over £1600 and hearing Elizabeth shout that she was doing this for her brother! Again watching the reaction of the runners to our big bear ( and he certainly was!!) hats off bear for doing the 3K!!
- Handing out Fraser bears to all competitors under 5 years old and then receiving the feedback that the bear made their games.
- Singing with our newly formed believe choir at the children’s gala event and seeing Elizabeth with Noah, Harry and other donor families and recipients enjoying the entertainment.
It truly was an experience and I for one will certainly be at Coventry next year - who's up for it??"
Edwards Coaches have been a fantastic help and support to us over the whole of the Games! They transported the choir to and from their performances at both Friar's Walk and at the Children's Gala Event at the Celtic Manor in our very own Fraser Bear coach. Thank you so much Edwards Coaches!
The Children's Gala Event
As an official sponsor of the Children's Gala Event, we helped get the party started with decorations, balloons and teddy bears, and the Believe Choir performed an array of Disney songs as the children and their families arrived. Our Fraser Bear Mascot was a huge success and even got to dance with a Disney Princess! Lucky Bear! The event was a huge success and we received wonderful feedback from the event organisers and the families themselves.
Jess Houlston, one of our donor families, shares her experience of being part of this wonderful event:
"I attended the British transplant Games this year with my husband Mike, daughter Billie (age 8) and son Noah (age 5) . We attended as a donor family following our baby boy, Teddy, donating his kidney and heart valves at just 100 minutes old in 2014.
The whole vibe of the event is electrifying and after attending the Glasgow games two years ago, I knew that I wanted my family to be involved. We attended the opening ceremony, took part in the donor run and finally celebrated with everyone at the beautiful gala dinner.
This is such a precious event and the honour we feel to a part of it is one of huge proportions. To see all the amazing recipients, united together, at all different stages of their own journeys, was really special to see and gave me memories I will cherish forever."
We hope you have enjoyed this month's special edition newsletter!