Dami Howard from Temple Cloud returned home with a gold medal from the 21st World Transplant Games. Dami won her medal for ladies’ doubles tennis (50+) having also won the consolation in the mixed doubles padel tennis at the event held in Malaga, Spain.
In March 2009, after a long period of deteriorating health and seven months on dialysis, Dami was fortunate to receive a kidney transplant from a deceased donor. This truly is the gift of life, she says, one she and her family will be forever grateful. Since her transplant, Dami has discovered a renewed love of sport, playing tennis regularly at Bishop Sutton Tennis Club and badminton at both Saltford and The Wheatsheaf Badminton Clubs.
Dami has also competed in the annual British Transplant Games since 2010. Her transplant meant that she could return to fulltime work and have energy left to spend time with family, prior to the transplant; she barely had the energy to occasionally walk the dogs.
Dami was selected to represent Team GB at the World Games in 2015 but was then unable to attend after breaking her leg which she then followed up with a car accident breaking her pelvis in two places. For Dami being selected for Malaga was such an achievement as it marked being alive as well as recovering fitness and mobility.
“Winning gold and becoming World Champion, with my husband and daughter cheering me on was the absolute icing on the cake,” said Dami.
The 175-strong Team Great Britain, won a total of 360 medals, 166 being golds, marking a fantastic achievement in a high-profile and competitive sports arena. Over 50 countries took part in this spectacular celebration of life, with 1000+ transplant athletes and donor families joining hands to raise international awareness of organ donation.
Team Great Britain, yet again, won more medals at the World Transplant Games, than were won by both GB teams who participated in the Olympics and Paralympics.
Justin Grace, Head sprint coach for GB Olympic Cycling team said: "I congratulate Team Great Britain on their success at the World Transplant Games. This amazing achievement shows how organ donation can transform lives. I want to encourage more people to sign up to the Organ Donor Register so they can help to stop the needless deaths of hundreds of people every year who could be saved by a transplant."
Lynne Holt, GB Team Manager comments: "All the athletes at the World Transplant Games have to be at their peak of physical fitness to compete, clearly illustrating the benefits of organ transplantation. But perhaps more importantly, the Games put a global spotlight on the need for organ donation. We are proud to have won 360 medals at the World Transplant Games. However, the true champions are those individuals that gave the gift of life."
To join the NHS Organ Donor Register and help save lives call 0300 123 2323 or visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk
To join the bone marrow donor register or ffi go to http://www.anthonynolan.org/