A team of organ transplant patients have won three medals representing University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust at the British Transplant Games earlier this summer. This is the first time the Trust has competed in the games.
To show appreciation for the amazing care they received before and after their transplants, the UHSussex team, which included four organ donors and four recipients, took part in a range of sports, including cycling, swimming, football, and track and field events, as well as a fun run with their families and supporters.
They won two silver medals in the cycling and one bronze medal in the freestyle swimming event.
Sally Chapman, Renal Pre-transplant Sister at Royal Sussex County Hospital, coordinated the team. She said: “The pandemic was a really difficult time and I wanted to do something positive for the patients to help them lead a healthy life, so I put a team together to attend the Games.
“We had a fantastic, proactive team who got really involved in the event. It was so special to see them with their families, living a normal life.
“It was nice to see them not as patients, but as people who are living the life they want to live and that gives me huge satisfaction that the work we do helps towards achieving that.”
Callum Fairclough, 32, from Brighton, took part in the 5km and 10km cycling event, winning two silver medals.
At the age of 21, he was diagnosed with a rare renal condition that can cause inflammation and damage to the kidneys.
Callum was regularly cared for by the renal team at Royal Sussex County Hospital and had dialysis for three months before receiving a kidney transplant at St George’s Hospital in September 2021, returning to The County for his aftercare.
A keen cyclist, Callum continued to exercise before and after his treatment to maintain his fitness levels and support his recovery.
Callum said: “It meant a lot to represent UHSussex. The difference between me before and after the transplant is night and day and this was a chance to show my appreciation for the care I received.
“It was refreshing to meet motivated people that have had a really challenging time but are bringing positivity to transplantation.”
Sally added that attending the Games couldn’t have been done without the support of the hospital’s BSUH Charity and Kidney Charity South East Kidney Patient Association and would love to grow the team for future British Transplant Games.