It began with a spectacular parade of athletes from 45 countries across the Matagarup Bridge and into Optus Stadium. The crowd of 2,600 included transplant recipients, living donors, donor families and supporters who have come from all over the world to compete in the 24th World Transplant Games in Perth.
The opening ceremony was a beautiful celebration of the gift of life, highlighting the importance of organ donation and the positive impact it can have on individuals and their families. The event brought together people of all ages, cultures, and beliefs in the largest awareness event for organ donation that Perth has ever seen.
The ceremony included Aboriginal dancers, didgeridoo, and musicians Rose Parker, Jim Fisher, and Dan Riches, who performed an original song written by Rose, Because of You, in honour of her late brother, Tim, who was an organ donor.
The Games were officially opened by Mr. John Coates, Vice-President of the International Olympic Committee representing the President, Mr. Thomas Bach.
He was joined on stage by the Honourable Ged Kearney MP Assistant Assistant Minister for Health, The Honourable Amber-Jade Sanderson, West Australian Minister for Health, Mr. Jason Ryan, Chair of Transplant Australia, Dr. Richard Walley, Noongar elder, and Mr. Chris Thomas, President of the World Transplant Games Federation.
Australian youngster Robbie Yates pressed the button for the start of the lightshow which concluded the ceremony.
Thanks to our partners for their support – the Australian Government through the Organ and Tissue Authority and the Office for Sport; the Government of Western Australia, City of Perth, AstraZeneca, Coogee Chemicals, and the McCusker Charitable Foundation, Lotterywest, Channel 7, The West Australian, Town of Cambridge, Rothwell Family Foundation, and Horizonswest.
Good luck to all the athletes competing at the Games this week.
To watch the festivities for yourself, please click HERE to visit the Transplant Australia Youtube channel for a live stream video of the event.