Transplant athletes descend upon the North East for Games

17th August 2019

Thousands of transplant athletes and their supporters are arriving in the North East to compete in the World Transplant Games.

Participants from 53 countries from across the world have been arriving in the North East by air, rail, road and sea as excitement builds in the region. There are large teams coming from the United States, Canada and Australia, as well as a big home contingent from the GB team, and specifically the North East.

There a number of countries that are taking part in the Games for the first time, including Azerbaijan, Ethiopia, Kenya and Andorra. Altogether 1,500 athletes will compete at various sporting venues across the North East during the Games that run from Saturday 17 to Friday 23 August.

How you can be part of the World Transplant Games NewcastleGateshead 2019:


Get your running shoes on and join in

  • There will be an opportunity for experienced runners through to first timers and walkers to get involved through the Gift of Life Run on Sunday 18 August. Starting at 11am, the 5k run/walk will take place in Exhibition Park and the Town Moor, with children able to participate over a 3k distance. You can register for the run on the day, costing £10 for adults and £5 for children. Participants will get a race number with professional timing chips and there are competitor medals for all. Expect a lively atmosphere with family-friendly fairground rides, food and drink concessions, entertainment and prizes for the best fancy dress. Get yourself along on the day and cheer on the runners. The Gift of Life Run is sponsored by CHUF (Children’s Heart Unit Fund) and entry fees raised will go to the Graham Wylie Foundation in support of the World Transplant Games 2019.


 Come along and support the athletes at the Games

  • Spectators are encouraged to come along and cheer on the athletes as they go for gold for their countries. Athletes will compete in 16 sporting events across 13 venues in the region. All events at the Games are free to spectate and tickets are not needed. Transplant athletes from as young as 6 through to 84-years-old will take part in; Archery, Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Cycling, Darts, Football, Golf, Petanque, Squash, Swimming, Table Tennis, Tennis, Ten Pin Bowling, Virtual Triathlon and Volleyball. The events will take place at the North East’s most iconic sporting venues; Close House Golf Club, Gateshead International Stadium, Sage Gateshead, Northumberland Tennis Club, Sport Central, Hetton Lyons Country Park, Sunderland Aquatic System, St James’ Park, Eagles Community Arena, Exhibition Park and Town Moor, Hollywood Bowl Washington, Namco and the Quayside.


A full schedule of events can be found at


Join the athletes as they parade through Newcastle city centre

  • The athletes will kick off the Games in style when they congregate at Old Eldon Square on Saturday 17 August at 3.30pm and parade together up Northumberland Street from 4.30pm and then towards Sport Central. Spectators are welcomed to line the streets and experience the excitement of the Games first-hand.


Test your fitness with Newcastle University

  • On Saturday 17 August there is a free Sports Science Event at the Boiler House on Newcastle University Campus between 10am and 4pm. Come along and take part in a range of activities designed to test and measure strength and fitness. Sports and Exercise Science experts from Newcastle University will talk about how fitness is measured and optimised, how exercise can assist transplant recipients after surgery and celebrate the impact of organ donation. Get down and find out about what happens to your body during different types of exercise, your reaction times, how flexible and powerful you are and much more. The event is free to attend, with no booking required. Please visit for more details.


Join the NHS Organ Donor Register

  • The main aims of the World Transplant Games are to raise awareness of organ donation, encourage people to share their donation wishes with those closest to them and celebrate transplant patients regaining fitness. From Spring 2020 the law around organ and tissue 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.


The World Transplant Games NewcastleGateshead 2019 are supported by a number of businesses both in the North East and nationally, including Games Sponsors Westfield Health and HSBC.

Graham Moore, Chairman of Westfield Health, commented: “The World Transplant Games is a fantastic initiative which is close to many of our hearts at Westfield and it means so much that athletes from 59 countries are taking part.

“We’re really looking forward to the Games and would love to see members of the public joining us to celebrate the gift of life and show our support for people who’ve been touched by organ donation. There are so many ways to get involved whether it be through spectating, attending the sports science event or taking part in the Donor Run.

“One of the easiest and most impactful ways to show support is by joining the NHS Organ Donor Register. Every day across the UK someone who could have benefited from a transplant dies because there aren’t enough organ donors – one donor can save or transform up to nine lives.”

Graham Wylie, chair of the World Transplant Games NewcastleGateshead 2019, said:“We are looking forward to welcoming nearly 2,300 participants from all over the world to the North East for what promises to be an amazing celebration of organ donation. The athletes taking part in the Games are a true inspiration to everyone.

“Whether it’s taking part in the Gift of Life Run, cheering on athletes from the sidelines or providing a warm North East welcome there are many ways in which people can get involved. Our aim is to make these the most visible World Transplant Games ever and we are encouraging everyone in the region to get involved in any way they can.”

For more information on the World Transplant Games 2019 and how to get involved visit