Father’s Day marks just a few weeks to go until the Transplant Games (July 28-21, 2022) when thousands of transplanted athletes, organ donors, family and friends will gather in Leeds to celebrate the life-saving benefits of organ donation.
In 2021, over 400 people became living donors, giving the ultimate gift to loved ones to help them survive.
Earlier this year, Sam Jones joined this list of living donors, giving his father Warren a portion of his liver after a first transplant was unsuccessful.
Warren has a long-term condition that has been affecting his organ function for most of his adult life. In 2021 Warren's condition started to deteriorate, he was told he would need liver surgery as soon as possible and was put on the transplant waiting list.
After 10 months, Warren underwent a liver transplant at Leeds General Infirmary, but his body began to reject the new organ and he became seriously ill, losing a significant amount of weight and growing weak, needing to stay in the hospital in the run up to Christmas - due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Sam was unable to visit.
The situation led to Sam putting himself forward with tests revealing he was indeed a match for his dad and at just 18, he gave Warren the right lobe of his liver and a second chance at life.
Both Sam and Warren have fully recovered from surgery and feel extremely lucky to be able to celebrate Father’s Day together again this year.
Sam, said: “When I found out I was a match for my dad and had the opportunity to save his life, I was so relieved that I could help him begin the road to recovery he so desperately deserved.
"If our story encourages just one more family to have a conversation on organ donation and their wishes, then I will be so proud.
"We aren’t quite well enough to compete in the British Transplant Games just yet, but it’s so exciting that such a big event raising awareness of organ donation is coming to Leeds, I hope I will be able to take part next year.”
Leeds Teaching Hospitals is one the largest and busiest acute hospital trusts in Europe. Last year, the Trust did over 150 kidney transplants and nearly 120 liver transplants, making Leeds one of the leading transplant centres in the country.
The charity is the lead sponsor for the annual Donor Run, the only event in the Games that is open to all, aiming to raise awareness and thank donors for their life saving sacrifices.
Esther Wakeman, CEO of Leeds Hospitals Charity, said: “We’re proud to support the hundreds of adults, children and families who are part of the Leeds Transplant Team. The British Transplant Games is a wonderful opportunity to bring together transplant patients and their loved ones from across the nations who share a special and unique bond.
“The Donor Run will be a celebration of the lives of those who have donated organs, but it is also a great way to raise money for charity and to get active. Bring the whole family along to enjoy what promises to be a fantastic event."
The Donor Run will take place around Leeds Docks on Saturday, July 30 at 18:30pm. The two routes, 3km and 5km are open for registration now and have already attracted over 1,000 combined sign ups.