A Spalding teaching assistant is heading to his fourth British Transplant Games in Scotland this week very fortunate to be there at all.
Sam Newton (36), a staff member at Spalding Academy, is cramming archery, badminton and volleyball into a four-day schedule at the games for transplant patients in North Lanarkshire.
I’m going purely for the spirit of the Transplant Games which is to enjoy the fact that I have this lease of lifeSam Newton (36), staff member at Spalding Academy
But Sam was in danger of missing out on selection for the team representing Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge where he underwent a kidney and pancreas transplant in February 2014.
Sam said: “In March, I was selected for the British team to go to the World Transplant Games in Malaga, Spain.
“But three days after I was selected, I had to give up my place to have hernia surgery at Pilgrim Hospital, Boston, after I’d started to feel ill.
“The speed at which it happened was the thing that got to me because I’d played five or six hours of volleyball before I had a stomach ache and then felt a bump in the area where I’d had the transplant operation.
“After the hernia operation, I realised that I wasn’t going to be in a fit state to compete in Malaga and so even the British Transplant Games are going to be different.”
Sam said: “I’d lost quite a lot of weight at the time of the hernia operation, so my attitude to this year’s games is to go into them without any expectations.
“I’m going purely for the spirit of the Transplant Games which is to enjoy the fact that I have this lease of life.”
According to Transplant Sport UK, organisers of the British Transplant Games, an estimated 750 athletes will compete in 23 sports between today and Sunday.
First staged in 1978, the aim of the Games is to raise awareness of organ donation and demonstrate the courage of athletes, some of whom are still alive only because of organs donated to them.
Andy Eddy, Chairman of Transplant Sport UK, said: “We are delighted to be taking the British Transplant Games back to Scotland for the fourth time and we really hope that our message of having the donation conversation will ensure that more families give consent to the donation of their loved ones’ organs.”