Elmer Joins World Transplant Games Team

24th July 2019

Organ donation and transplant sport will be promoted as part of Elmer’s Great North Parade Trail this year. The World Transplant Games sponsored Elmer will be in place for the Games which are being hosted in the North East between 17 and 24 August.

The World Transplant Games Elmer will be called Raphael after the angel who performs all manner of healing.

Raphael is part of this summer’s Elmer’s Great North Parade Trail, a public art trail and events delivered by St Oswald’s Children’s Hospice in partnership with Wild in Art and publisher Andersen Press. The art trail across Tyne and Wear begins on 21 August and will feature fifty large individually designed elephant sculptures and 115 little sculptures all based on the much loved Elmer the Elephant character.

Participants from 59 countries across the world, including as far afield as Kenya, Mongolia and Nepal, will travel to the North East for the World Transplant Games. These athletes, and the general public, will be able to visit Raphael at Newcastle Civic Centre – the location of the Games Hub.

Graham Wylie, chair of the World Transplant Games NewcastleGateshead 2019, said:

We are delighted that the World Transplant Games can be a part of Elmer’s Great North Parade Trail. In the build-up to the Games we’ve been engaging with local schools and communities through our art programme where children have been exploring organ donation and transplantation through art and printmaking.

Our aim is to make these the most visible Games ever and having the amazing Raphael on our team will help us achieve this. We are encouraging the general public to come along and visit Raphael, learn about organ donation and watch our inspiring transplant athletes compete.”

Raphael has been created by artist Steve Johnson who has worked with global brands such as McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and Samsung. Steve and his partner Sandra Russell have been working as a team for over 20 years, creating traditional and digital illustrations for a range of projects.

Steve Johnson said: “To have been given the chance to create the character of Raphael has been a wonderful opportunity to meet with some great people doing such special work. We wanted Raphael’s character to reflect all of the energy and commitment of this year’s World Transplant Games competitors, what better way then, than to have Raphael kitted out in sports wear looking ready to go! Good luck to everyone.”

Jane Hogan, Elmer’s Great North Parade project lead said: “We are delighted to be working with the World Transplant Games and love their elephant design, Raphael, who we think will be a real hit on the trail.

 “During the trail, we will be promoting health, wellbeing and encouraging families to get out and about and be active, which ties in well with the World Transplant Games messaging.”

From Spring 2020 the law around organ donation in England is changing. Unless you choose to opt out, or are in an excluded group, if you are 18 and above and live in England it will be considered that you agreed to be an organ donor when you die. Whatever your decision, make your choice clear to your family and closest friends to help ensure your choice is honoured. NHS Blood and Transplant’s #PassItOn campaign encourages people to pass on their organs and save lives; make their decision and pass it on those closest to them; spread the word and help us pass on the campaign message to others.

For more information on World Transplant Games 2019 visit www.worldtransplantgames.org