Transplant athletes get behind our campaign
A GROUP of medal-winning kidney patients are backing The Herald's Gift of Life campaign in the hope that hundreds more city people will sign the Organ Donor Register.
The Plymouth Transplant Games Team, made up of seven local people who have all undergone kidney transplants from the South West Transplant Centre, based at Derriford Hospital, are urging city residents to sign up.
Janet Jenkins, Terry Wright, Tony Edwards, Keith Parsons, John Wollington, Stuart House and Steve Jarvis walked away from this year's British Transplant Games, held in Kent, with 14 gold medals, seven silver, five bronze and a trophy for Best Male Competitor.
Every single member of the team came home with a medal, with four also being selected to represent Team GB at the World Transplant Games next year in Durban, South Africa.
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But the team told The Herald that none of it would have been possible, and none of them would be here today if it hadn't been for someone else's generosity.
They have now pledged their support to the campaign to get 1,000 more people in the city to sign the organ donor register.
Team Manager Janet said: "Organ donation is an amazing gift. If it wasn't for people's generosity none of us would be here. We have all been through tough times but we want people to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. We don't see the transplant as a cure, it's another form of treatment that has given us another form of life which is just incredible."
Janet waited for 12 years before a suitable kidney became available. She had previously had two transplants but her body rejected both organs.
She said: "To have a transplant is like a dream come true. If someone offered me a winning lottery ticket or a kidney, I'd take the kidney every time.
"The Gift of Life campaign is fantastic. People need to be made aware of organ donation and I'm glad it's embracing this. Signing that register is the only way the transplant list can keep going and the only way many people will get their lives back.
"It's easier to get on the transplant list than it is to get off it."
The team also wanted to emphasise how important it is to let next of kin know if you sign the organ donor register.
Join The Herald's Gift of Life campaign and play your part in helping to save a life.
The campaign, launched with the support of Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, aims to inspire another 1,000 city people to sign the donor register.
Jon Paul Oxley, who inspired The Herald to launch the campaign, died from chronic cystic fibrosis at the beginning of September as he waited for a lung transplant that never came. He had been on the waiting list for a life-saving double lung transplant for 19 months when he died.
His parents are now carrying on their son's fight to encourage more people to become donors.
By visiting www.thisisplymouth.co.uk/giftoflife you can read all about the campaign and join up.