Suffolk athlete to compete in games

ATHLETE Glen Taylor is preparing for the trip of a lifetime when he jets off to Australia's Gold Coast on Sunday to take part in the World Transplant Games.

ATHLETE Glen Taylor is preparing for the trip of a lifetime when he jets off to Australia's Gold Coast on Sunday to take part in the World Transplant Games.

The trip follows the success of his team, the Addenbrookes Hospital Transplant team, at the British Transplant Games in Coventry earlier this month where Taylor, 42, of Newmarket, won a bronze medal for the ball throw event.

He will subsequently be one of the 140 athletes to represent the UK at the world games in Australia, which represent the largest organ donor awareness event in the world.

Supported by the International Olympic Committee, the games feature a nine day series of sporting events and Team UK's athletes will join over 1000 others from 55 countries across the globe, all of whom have undergone an organ transplant.

Mr Taylor, who moved to Stetchworth from Barnsley when he was 16, underwent a kidney and pancreas transplant at Addenbrookes in July 2007 after suffering with diabetes for 20 years. He first discovered the transplant games whilst at the hospital and began training in early 2008 after several months in recovery.

Spokeswoman Lynne Holt, of Transplant Sport UK, said: “None of the transplant athletes would be here today without a life-saving transplant operation and their determination and zest for life is a true inspiration. The Transplant Games gives transplant athletes a chance to celebrate their second chance and thank the organ donors and their families. Surely there is no better proof of the power of the gift of life, which is why the Games must continue, reaching more people every year.”

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Mr Taylor's three week stay in Australia will see him take part in the 200 metre freestyle swimming event, which he has been training for since early 2008. Now in good health the athlete spoke of his determination to show that “we're just the same as everyone else”.

Last year, 2,800 lives in the UK were saved or dramatically improved thanks to the generosity and courage of donors and their families.

However, across the UK whilst the number of people waiting for a transplant is on the rise, the number of potential donors is falling, a spokesperson said.

To join the NHS Organ Donor Register visit the website at www.uktransplant.org.uk or call

0300 1232323.

For more information on Transplant Sport UK or the British Transplant Games visit www.transplantsport.org.uk or contact HSL on 020 8977 9132 or at tsukteam@harrisonsadler.com