8 July 2024

Team Sheffield gearing up for 2024 British Transplant Games

Patients, families, and volunteers at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals are getting ready to compete in the annual British Transplant Games, taking place in Nottingham on 1st until 4th August.

Since 1978, the Games have aimed to encourage transplant patients to regain and maintain fitness, showcase the life-changing benefits of transplantation, and encourage more people to join the NHS organ donor register. They also seek to thank and celebrate donor families and the gift of life.

Each year teams from across UK cities, hospitals and charities compete for medals across a wide range of sports – everything from football, archery, badminton and cycling, to darts, swimming, volleyball, and running. Social events celebrating the Sheffield team – made up of transplant recipients and living donors – will also be held, with the team cheered on by local donor families and supporters.

Transplant recipient Lewis Daniels, 25, and kidney donor Richard Gutteridge, 61, are both veterans of the Transplant Games. The pair recently visited Northern General Hospital’s Sorby Renal outpatient unit to promote the games to patients and encourage them to join Team Sheffield.

CAPTION: Lewis Daniels (left) and Richard Gutteridge visiting the Sorby Renal Outpatients unit at Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital.

Lewis – grandson of the late TV magician Paul Daniels – lives in Haxey, Doncaster and received a kidney from his mum Joanne in 2019 after being diagnosed with IgA nephropathy. The disease affects the kidney’s ability to filter blood and urine, causing a protein (IgA) to build up which damages the kidneys and eventually leads to kidney failure.

He had a pre-emptive transplant in 2019 in Liverpool where he was a student but is now under the care of the Transplant Centre at Sheffield’s Northern General Hospital.

Since his transplant, he has become a personal trainer and continues to play cricket – including in the England and Wales Transplant Cricket Team. At the 2022 Transplant Games in Leeds, he won a silver medal in the cricket ball throw, followed by a bronze (for ball throw) and silver (5km walk) at the 2023 Games in Coventry.

CAPTION: Lewis taking part in the donor run (left) and with his silver cricket ball throw medal (right)

This year he’ll be competing in his usual cricket ball throw and 5km walk, as well as the ten-pin bowling, darts and donor run with other team members and families. He said:

“I’ve been playing some kind of sport for most of my life. Even after my transplant, sport is still a massive part of my life and my work as a personal trainer.

“The Transplant Games is a fantastic way to meet other transplant recipients and families who’ve been through transplants and organ donation, have fun, and connect through sport.

“There’s a huge family and community feel to every games and you quickly develop bonds with everyone. Transplant and organ donation is such a big experience, not just for donors and recipients, but also for their families too. My mum, dad, sister, and niece have all come along and joined in the last few years.

“As soon as you attend the games, you instantly become part of a community and support network where everyone is welcome. It’s great to have supporters along and some of those take part in the donor run. It’s a fantastic event, everyone looks after each other and you can walk or run it at your own pace.

“The Games are open to everyone no matter your fitness level or sporting ability. It’s much more about being part of something – the sport almost comes second!”

Retiree and dad-of-one Richard, also from Doncaster, donated a kidney to his best friend Alan Cowling in 2020 after he was diagnosed with kidney failure. Badminton partners for over 30 years, the pair compete in the badminton category and wear matching ‘1 kidney club’ t-shirts. Together they have gold (2023) and silver (2022) medals to their name – with Alan also winning a Bronze at the World Transplant Games in Australia in 2023.

CAPTION: Richard (left) and Alan, receiving their gold medals for badminton at the Coventry 2023 Games.

He said: “Alan and I played Badminton together for many years in Doncaster before he moved to London in the mid-2000s. We kept in touch regularly but in late 2019 he was in a really bad way with kidney failure and was in need of a donor kidney.

“His sister and cousin were both good matches but a few weeks before the op his sister developed kidney stones which put a stop to it. I decided to help my friend, got tested, and came out as a good match.

“The op was put back twice due to me having a slight cold but once that had cleared up, we got the go ahead in January 2020 just before the pandemic. They took my kidney here in Sheffield at the Northern General Hospital, and blue-lighted it down to Alan in London.

“Alan called me late at night after his op but I was in a morphine dream recovering from mine, so he rang Gaynor, my wife, in floods of tears gutted he couldn’t get me to share his fantastic news.

“It’s great to see how fit and well Alan is doing now and that he can still play badminton. We’re looking forward to defending our title together at this year’s games, and I’m also competing in the darts this time too which anyone can take part in on the Friday night social evening.

“My first Transplant Games were in Leeds in 2022 and each one since has just been the most humbling experience – from the opening parade with all the competitors, the fantastic support, and being alongside all of the donors, recipients and families for the donor run.

“The unique thing is that everybody there has a different story to share with each other about donation, and everyone is there to acknowledge this amazing gift and remember those who gave it. It’s just brilliant and like being part of a special family.”

Caroline Basarab-Horwath, Living Donor Transplant Coordinator at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, added:

“We are so proud of Team Sheffield. Our patients inspire and amaze us every year with their talent and dedication. Along with social events, the games offer the opportunity for transplant patients, donors, and their families to come together nationally to celebrate the success of transplantation.”

If you’d like to join the find out more or to join the 2025 team, get in touch with Sheffield Team Manager, Charlotte Morton, via charlottemorton1977@gmail.com. Members of the public are also welcome to come along to the Nottingham games as supporters, and can find the find the full programme on the British Transplant Games website.

To find out more about organ donation, or to register as a donor, visit the UK organ donation website.

Go back
Rate this page: