Updated: Monday, 19th August 2019 @ 10:17am

From death's door to the starting blocks: Wythenshawe patients in huge medal haul at Transplant Games

From death's door to the starting blocks: Wythenshawe patients in huge medal haul at Transplant Games

By Dan Windham

Seven Wythenshawe Hospital patients returned triumphantly from the British Transplant Games in Sheffield earlier this month, collecting 17 medals over a four-day period.

The team returned with an impressive haul of 11 gold, one silver and five bronze medals and vital fundraising money University Hospital of South Manchester’s Transplant Fund, New Start.

After surviving a heart transplant six years ago, Bill Noble, from Littleborough in Rochdale, was the standout performer in Sheffield, sweeping the board for the second consecutive year in swimming and returning with five gold medals.

New Start charity manager Janice Taylor said: “The games encourage transplant recipients to live to the full by engaging in sport, exercise and social interaction.” 

More than 700 people, all of whom have had life-saving treatments, competed in a range of different sports  to raise money for their chosen causes.

Pete Nichols (archery), Andy McGarry (football) & Manoj Kuriakose (shot putt & high jump), and double lung transplant patients Ken Mackie (archery) and Paul Ashberry (football) all came away with gold medals.

BRITISH TRANSPLANT GAMES: Wythenshawe team members Paul and Ken

A silver medal was awarded to Alan Schofield in the 400m track event, and bronze medals were awarded to Paul Ashberry (squash), Andy McGarry (golf) and Manoj Kuriakose (javelin and long jump).

Founded in 1978 by a kidney transplant surgeon, the purpose of the games is not only to celebrate the incredible display of human endeavour showed by the competitors but also to show gratitude to the kindness of the donor families.

“The games represent different things to different people but the most heartfelt feeling is appreciation for being given the gift of life by someone who had registered on the donor list,” Janice Taylor said.

“Without this none of the athletes would be alive to compete.”

Sue Duncalf, Transplant Co-ordinator at Manchester Royal Infirmary said: “The increasing effectiveness of transplantation means that many more patients can be considered for treatment in this way.

"However, there is a serious shortage of donors.

For some people this means waiting, sometimes for years, and undergoing difficult and stressful treatment.”

For more information about transplants, or to sign the donor register, visit www.uktransplant.org.uk

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