In 2021, Callum was having daily dialysis sessions because his kidneys were failing; in 2023, he was winning medals for cycling.
This summer, just a year after he had his kidney transplant, Callum joined the ‘Brighton Dolphins’, and headed to Coventry for the British Transplant Games. In its 45th year, this was the first time Brighton was represented with its own team.
Taking place in different host cities every summer, the Games see teams from hospitals across the UK come together to compete in an exciting assortment of sports. Over four days around 1000 transplant athletes and more than 1700 supporters gather for the event. Organised on behalf of Transplant Sport, the Games aim to raise awareness of the need for organ donation, encourage transplant recipients to regain fitness and show appreciation for, and remember, donors and their families.
The ‘Dolphins’ comprised of a group of transplant recipients, live donors and family members who have been treated at Sussex Kidney Centre at Brighton’s Royal Sussex County Hospital. With a fee to compete, along with travel and accommodation costs, My University Hospitals Sussex were able to make this exciting opportunity a reality. With additional support from SEKPA (Sussex Kidney Patients Association) and Durrington Cycle Project, we funded the £8000 to ensure each of the ‘Dolphins’ was able to take part and enjoy this incredible experience.
Across the team, a wide range of games were competed in – from swimming to football to badminton to golf. Callum, who competed in two cycling races, the 5km Time Trial and the 10km Road Race, won two silver medals for his efforts. He said:
“Being part of the British Transplant Games is a wonderful experience. It’s impossible not to feel inspired by all the incredible people that get involved. The atmosphere is friendly, supportive, and totally uplifting. Getting a medal is of course a great feeling, but a lot of the reason I feel pride for the achievement is that I can show my donor, my family, and the nurses and doctors involved in getting to the health I am in now. It sort of feels like I’m representing my donor, and the hospital, more than myself personally.”
As impressive as the Brighton team’s incredible array of medals is, the main goal of the Games is to have fun! And fun was indeed had. 2000 runners joined the largest ever annual Donor Run in Coventry War Memorial Park, which is the only event open to everyone and designed to thank donors and donor families for giving the ultimate gift of life. Another highlight was the Childrens Events on Friday which saw 500 transplant recipients and their siblings take part in Obstacle Course Races, Sports Hall Athletics, Ball Throw, Long Jump and Cup Stacking. Alongside these events there were also craft activities, musical workshops and come and try sports sessions for the whole family to get involved with.
This isn’t the first time the charity has supported our wonderful Renal Team at Royal Sussex County Hospital. Last year, a new ECG machine for renal out-patients was funded through the generosity of My University Hospitals Sussex’s supporters. The new device plays a key role in offering patients electrocardiograms – a tool needed to record electrical signals in the heart. It’s a common and painless test used to quickly detect heart problems and monitor the heart’s health. Having previously shared an ECG machine with another unit, as well as the fact that the department has expanded, having a dedicated machine for renal out-patients has made such a difference – patients have less time to wait and experience a smoother care pathway.
If you’d like to help make a difference to the lives of our patients and staff at the Sussex Kidney Centre and across our hospitals, please consider making a donation today. Find out more on our donation page.