TWENTY-five of the best transplant athletes from across the country have converged on the Gold Coast for what has become Australia’s largest ever training event for athletes who have undergone an organ transplant.
The Transplant Australia High Performance Camp is one of the main events leading up to the 16th Australian Transplant Games which will kick off on the Gold Coast on September 30.
Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles officially opened the camp on the Coast yesterday.
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“The Transplant Games are a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the ongoing story of organ donation long after the scars have healed,” he said.
“I want to take this opportunity to encourage all Queenslanders to have a conversation with your families and register to be an organ and tissue donor today.
“You have the power to make a difference and to save lives through donation.”
The Queensland Government has provided Transplant Australia with a $400,000 sponsorship toward the 2018 Australian Transplant Games operational costs.
Transplant Australia CEO Chris Thomas said the Transplant Games showcased the generosity of organ and tissue donors.
“Our athletes demonstrate living proof that transplantation saves lives,” Mr Thomas said.
“The Games are unique in that they demonstrate the tangible outcomes of donation – they show that people who were once terminally ill waiting for a life-saving transplant are able to resume life and can even return to the sporting arena.
“For every Australian willing to one day save lives, joining the register is the clearest message a person can give their family that, in the event of their death, they have made a decision to leave a legacy of donation to save the lives of other Australians.”
Kidney recipient and multi-sport athlete from Thornside, Douglas Alexander had his transplant in 2010 and used the Transplant Games as motivation during his recovery.
“[Competing in the Transplant Games] feels like completing a personal goal, but one that a lot of other people helped me with,” Douglas said.
“Organ donation is a marvellous human achievement and should be advocated for and acknowledged.”
The Transplant Australia High Performance Camp is underway at the Gold Coast Sports Super Centre from 16 to 18 March 2018.
The biennial Australian Transplant Games will be held on the Gold Coast from 30 September to 6 October 2018.
For more information on the Transplant Games, click here.
Register to become an organ donor at donatelife.gov.au.