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Aiming for gold at the World Transplant Games

12/08/2019
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Fresh from helping Team Oxford's football team to a gold medal at the Westfield Health British Transplant Games, goalkeeper Chris Collis is hoping for more success at the 2019 World Transplant Games.

The 33-year-old, who received a kidney transplant at the Churchill Hospital in 2009, kept six clean sheets in eight games as Team Oxford, a group of renal transplant patients treated at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, stormed to victory in Newport last month (July 2019).

Looking to build on his impressive personal performance from the British games, for which Team Oxford enjoyed a 27-medal haul, Chris is hoping to continue his good form at the World Transplant Games taking place in Newcastle and Gateshead between 17-24 August 2019.

A total of eight contestants who have received care at the Transplant Centre based at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford will represent Team GB. There will be approximately 320 Team GB representatives, with more than 1,400 competitors representing over 60 countries in total.

Chris, whose kidney was donated to him by his mother, said: "I am looking forward to the Games a lot as I've heard so many great stories from people who have previously attended, and I can't wait to be among it.

"I have tasted gold once and I want another. I want to make all of my family proud and especially my mum, as if it wasn't for her I wouldn't have had this opportunity.

"I'm also looking forward to promoting the message to everybody that a donation can change lives and that transplant recipients like myself are immensely grateful. I would never have had this chance without that special gift of life. It can be either a family member or anyone who is brave enough to join the donation register."

Since undergoing his transplant, Chris has worked full-time, got married, had two kids, bought a house, and has two dogs - thanks to the specialist work carried out at the Churchill.

He added: "The Oxford Transplant Service team have been incredible, and I can never thank them enough for the help they have provided over the years.

"Before my transplant it was scary for me and my mum, but the team helped re-assure us that everything would be okay. My family and I are so grateful for the continued support we have received over the years."

To mark the beginning of the World Games, a baton relay will visit five transplant centres in England, starting in London and ending in Newcastle. The baton, which was originally presented to the charity Transplant Sport at the British Transplant Games, will arrive in Oxford as the second destination on Tuesday 13 August 2019, before leaving the Churchill for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham the following day.

The Games aim to raise awareness of organ and tissue donation and to encourage transplant patients to regain their fitness. It will also be a huge celebration of medical success stories and the generosity and gratitude of donors and recipients.

Another contestant representing Oxford at the Games is throwball, tennis and squash player Flora King, whose Dad donated his kidney to her in 2010.

The 21-year-old, who had her transplant at Great Ormond Street Hospital before transitioning to Oxford at the age of 17, is looking forward most to giving a standing ovation at the opening ceremony in appreciation of donors.

She added: "I am so thankful to the team at Oxford. They are so accommodating and considerate that I actually enjoy going to hospital and my check-ups."

Dr Paul Harden, Consultant Transplant Physician at the Trust and Chairman of Transplant Sport, said: "It is fantastic that so many of our transplant recipients are participating in the World Transplant Games representing this unit and their country.

"We are all immensely proud of what they have achieved and their commitment to demonstrating the life changing benefits of organ transplantation and the remarkable generosity of all organ donors."

The eight patients cared for at the Churchill and involved in the World Transplant Games are:

  • Chris Collis, Football
  • Carlton Richardson, Football and Ten Pin Bowling
  • Flora King, Tennis, Squash and Throwball
  • Marina Lyons, Tennis
  • Joshua Mayhead, Squash and Tennis
  • Andrew Hook, Table Tennis
  • Ikhlaq Ahmed, Petanque
  • Keith Sanders, Darts

Pictured: Chris Collis in action for Team Oxford at the British Transplant Games

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