Two of our Heart Heroes are competing in the British Transplant Games this weekend.
The Westfield Health British Transplant Games is an event taking place to promote the benefits of transplantation, celebrate the many incredible achievements of transplant athletes and highlight the desperate need for organ donors.
The event is being held in Newcastle and Gateshead from 30 July to 2 August.
Wendy Lingham, who had a heart transplant in 2011, is taking part in cycling, walking, table tennis and the three kilometre donor run.
Wendy said: “I’m taking part for a number of reasons, firstly to honour my donor, to raise awareness of organ donation, and to show what organ donation can do.
“It's always pleasing to know that after working all year round on my own fitness I am physically fit enough to take part.
“I'm looking forward to taking part in this year’s especially at Newcastle where it all started for me, as the Freeman hospital was where my new life began. “
Stuart Watt, who had a heart transplant 20 years ago, is entering the table tennis and donor run.
Stuart is looking forward to joining with other transplantees to promote the importance of organ donation. Stuart has been on the committee of our Durham branch for nearly 20 years.
Recent statistics showed that the number of people desperately waiting for a heart transplant has more than doubled in just five years.
Annual figures published by NHS Blood and Transplant, showed that there is still a vast shortage of organ donors.
We are calling for the soft opt-out organ donation system – currently being introduced in Wales - to be rolled out across the rest of the UK to help increase the number of potential donors.
We believe adopting this system across the UK would help increase the number of organs available for donation and better reflect the wishes of the majority of the population.
Melanie Sturtevant, our policy manager, said: “Sadly, the number of people waiting for a heart transplant has more than doubled in the last five years.
“There is a desperate shortage of organ donors and we urgently need to improve this to offer the best chance of long term survival for critically ill heart patients.
“It’s crucial that people discuss their wishes with their loved ones. We know that families are much more likely to consent to donation when they know what the wishes of their loved ones were.
“We would like to see the introduction of a ‘soft opt out’ system across the UK, where it’s assumed that someone is happy to donate unless they, or their family, say otherwise.
“The ‘soft opt out’ system has helped to increase the number of organ donors in other countries, and is being introduced in Wales later this year. We hope to see the rest of the UK follow Wales’s lead to help save more lives.”
Find out more and register to become an Organ Donor