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Date: 23 September 2019
Memorial baton raising awareness of organ donation
Story posted/last updated: 16 August 2019
A symbolic baton celebrating organ donation stopped off at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham in the lead-up to the World Transplant Games.
Martin Searle, manager of the Birmingham Adult Transplant Sport Team, took the baton on a tour of some of the hospital wards along with members of the team who are taking part in the games in Newcastle and Gateshead.
The Birmingham Adult Transplant Sport Team has 23 team members who were selected to represent the Great Britain and Northern Ireland in their chosen sports.
The baton is called Tom’s Baton after Tom Wilson, a talented hockey player who lost his life in December 2015 in a freak accident at the age of 22.
After his death, his parents Lisa and Graham agreed for his organs and tissue to be donated.
Lisa, who also lost Graham eight weeks later to a brain tumor and sepsis, has since become a passionate campaigner for organ donation.
She commissioned the baton and accompanied it on the visit to QEHB and other transplant centres on the way to Newcastle.
The Games, which take place between 17 – 23 August, are a celebration of a second chance of life for over 2,500 participants and shine the spotlight on the importance of organ donation in saving and enhancing lives.
Martin said: "This will hopefully inspire others to be involved more in a sport, which as we all know is beneficial to our mental and physical health as well as helping to prolong the lifespan of our transplants."
Anthony Clarkson, Director of Organ Donation and Transplantation at NHS Blood and Transplant, said: "It’s wonderful to see so many athletes who have experienced the lifesaving benefits of organ donation and transplantation coming together to compete and celebrate the healthy life their organ transplant has given them.
"Every day lives are saved and transformed through organ transplantation and raising awareness of organ donation has never been more important - particularly with the law about organ donation changing in England and Scotland next year."
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