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Welsh competitors take part in British Transplant Games

Athletes will be gathering at the Gateshead International Stadium later for the Games. Credit: ITV News

Organ transplant patients from across Wales will be competing in the British Transplant Games in Newcastle as it gets underway today.

The event takes place in a different city each year and demonstrates the benefits of transplantation and encourages transplant patients to regain fitness.

The Games are also a way of thanking donor families and celebrating the gift of life.

Brenda Roberts was just days away from dying after she became very ill. Credit: ITV News

Brenda Roberts, 61, from Ruthin will be competing in the golf. She became very close to dying after being diagnosed with liver disease.

I'd been feeling very well. I was fit but basically my liver was shot and only a transplant could sort it out.

I'd just celebrated my 60th birthday and, as soon as I hit that milestone, I went downhill fast. I was hospitalised in Leeds and was told I wouldn't be leaving without a transplant.

– Brenda Roberts, British Transplant Games competitor
Brenda is a keen golfer and keeps fit and healthy after her liver transplant. Credit: ITV News

Fortunately for Brenda, a suitable organ was found just in time and she underwent her life-saving liver transplant operation in 2012.

The transplant saved my life in more ways than one. One of the best ways I can thank my liver donor is by keeping myself as healthy as possible - I'm a keen golfer and play at my local golf club.

It saddens me that people often wrongly associate liver disease with alcoholism. I was never a drinker - in fact I probably drank less that your normal person.

I'm allowed to drink alcohol following my transplant but I rarely do, mainly out of respect for the gift of life I've been given.

– Brenda Roberts, British Transplant Games competitor

Wales' new soft opt-out organ donation system will come into action from the 1st of December, and presumes consent for people's organs and tissues to be donated unless they stipulate otherwise.

On top of this, the new law will mean a person's family and friends will have a significant role to play in the ultimate decision to donate an organ.

I think the Welsh Government's new legislation on organ donation is absolutely brilliant. More organs are needed to help save more lives.

Too many families refuse organ donation when they lose a loved one, sometimes even when they know they carried an organ donor card.

That's grief and trauma coming into play. I hope the new legislation will change that and make donating the norm.

– Brenda Roberts, British Transplant Games competitor

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