Members of the Berkshire Royals transplant team from the Royal Berkshire Hospital successfully bought home four medals for the UK at this year’s summer World Transplant Games in Newcastle. Mike Marshall won a bronze in Petanque (often known as French bowls), Mike Grundy bought back a gold and bronze in tennis and Mark Powell returned with a bronze in darts.
The games, which take place every two years and staged by the World Transplant Games Federation in host cities around the world are a celebration of the gift of life and a way of thanking the donor families.
Mike Grundy shared: "Achieving all this would not have been possible without the care and expertise of the NHS, with both the Churchill at Oxford and the Royal Berkshire Hospital at Reading excelling in transforming my condition and bringing me back to full health. The Transplant Games has given me the drive to further develop my own fitness, the opportunity to appreciate the challenges faced by so many others, and the platform to shout about the need for organ donation and the life-saving results it consistently delivers."
The RBFT transplant service provides support to a wide range of patients across Berkshire prior and post-transplant, and patients currently on the dialysis programme who are preparing for a transplant. Nationally, renal services take up approximately 5% of the NHS funding, but the cost to patients and their families is far greater. Those on dialysis are required to be on either three times a week or daily for eight hours per night, the impact this can have on family life, dietary restrictions, employment and education can be severe.
The transplant team welcomed the government decision which comes into law in Spring 2020 to make organ donation an ‘opt-out’ process in England, as it promises a significant rise in organ availability and a corresponding fall in the death rate of those waiting for a transplant.
Mark said: “I wouldn’t be here without the generosity of my donor for who I’m incredibly grateful. Organ donation is an amazing gift to give. The transplant nurses have been incredibly encouraging and I’m excited and proud to be representing the team and hospital at the World games. It’s been a fantastic opportunity.”
For those RBH patients fortunate enough to find a matching donor, they undergo the transplant surgery at Oxford and are then repatriated back to the RBH team after six months for their future ongoing care. Currently, the RBH has over 450 patients who have had successful transplants under their care. A transplant is an amazing gift of life and the positive impacts for a patient and their family are incredible; releasing them from the restrictions of end stage renal dialysis and its associated side effects. With a transplant, patients can go back to living normal, full lives.
Barbara Harris, Renal Home Therapies Lead Nurse at the RBH said: “It’s so important that families talk to one another and share their wishes around organ donation. This can assist traumatised families with their difficult decision making when faced with the unexpected loss of a loved one. For the team, seeing patients receive successful transplants and the positive effect it has on their lives is really incredible”
Berkshire Royals are determined to grow the team and raise the profile of organ donation in Berkshire and highlight the enormous benefits the games bring to both patients and their families and friends.
Steve McManus, chief executive said “This is an incredible achievement and I’m immensely proud of the outstanding transplant team here at the RBH and the amazing work they do to help support patients through their dialysis and transplant journey. Huge and well-deserved congratulations.”