Ahead of the British Transplant Games in Coventry this weekend, staff, patients, families and volunteers at Leeds Children’s Hospital have taken part in a "Road to Coventry" fundraising challenge to raise funds for Leeds Children’s Transplant Team.

On Tuesday 25th July, the team virtually travelled the 120-mile distance from Leeds Children’s Hospital, to Coventry, the host city of the 2023 British Transplant Games with the help of a treadmill and static bike in the main reception area of Leeds Children’s Hospital. Participants included doctors, nurses, play specialists, scientists, managers and administrators from across the hospital. 

Staff and volunteers were joined by Team Leeds transplant recipients and their families along with supporters from Leeds Hospitals Charity and The Millie Wright Children’s Charity. Each participant hopped on the bike or treadmill for 15-30 minutes and added their miles to a running total. The aim was to be "in Coventry" by tea time and the team smashed it, arriving shortly before 15:30!

Staff at Leeds Children

The British Transplant Games takes place every Summer, giving transplant patients and their families from hospitals across the UK the opportunity to come together, celebrate their gifts of life and pay thanks to donor families as they compete in a variety of sports.

Leeds Children’s Transplant Team is made up of more than 40 inspirational young people aged from two to sixteen, all recipients of transplants at Leeds Children’s Hospital. Competitors may have had liver, kidney or stem cell transplants at Leeds – one of only three centres in the UK able to perform paediatric liver transplants.   

The team are supported by funding from Leeds Hospitals Charity each year, which enables as many competitors and their loved ones to attend the Games as possible, helping pay for registration, team kit, transport and accommodation.

Read more: British Transplant Games 2022 - Thank You!

Leeds Hospitals Charity were also able to support members of Team Leeds who were selected to participate the World Transplant Games in Perth earlier this year.

As well as raising funds to support the Leeds Children’s Hospital transplant team, the event raised awareness of organ donation and encouraged everyone to have the organ donation conversation with their family, ensuring that loved ones understand and respect your organ donation decision.

Lisa Beaumont, Leeds Children’s Transplant Team Manager said:

"It’s an absolute privilege to support these inspirational children and young people, all of whom have overcome some huge challenges in their own lives and health. The British Transplant Games is a celebration of the gift of life that is given with each and every organ donation. Today we’re doing our bit to raise awareness and encourage everyone to make sure their families understand their organ donation decision."

Read more: Donate to the team’s JustGiving page here

15-year-old Ava Taylor from Huddersfield was one of 28 people who helped clock up the miles on the day. Ava had a liver transplant at Leeds Children’s Hospital when she was just five years old and has gone on to represent Leeds Children’s Transplant Team every year! Ava even represented Team GB+NI at this year’s World Transplant Games in Perth, Australia. Ava brought home 7 medals and a world record! Ava explained why the British Transplant Games are so important:

"The Games are amazing, you get to meet people who have had the same experience as you and everyone gets to show how far they've come since their transplant. I'm really looking forward to Coventry and seeing everyone together again. I'm so pleased I could help today and say thank you to the team of volunteers who make Leeds Children's Transplant Team such a brilliant team!"

Transplant recipient Ava on the Road to Coventry Challenge

Thanks to the joint fundraising efforts of young people, their friends and family today’s event has raised more than £200 so far to help some of Leeds Children’s Hospital’s youngest competitors attend the Games.

Esther Wakeman, CEO of Leeds Hospitals Charity joined in the challenge and spoke to us about why supporting Team Leeds is so important:

"The British Transplant Games are a unique opportunity for transplant patients and their loved ones to come together with other families who have shared experiences and build life-long friendships. We are proud to support ‘Team Leeds’ every Summer thanks to generous donations and grants, which help us enable as many transplant patients as possible to attend. I would like to wish all of the participants the best of luck for the Games in Coventry!"

Donate to the team’s JustGiving page here