Keeping it in the family for the British Transplant Games

A young lawyer has become a volunteer at the Westfield Health British Transplant Games NewcastleGateshead 2015 in support of his brother – a competitor in the event who made history when he received a kidney transplant as a child.

Joshua Crawley is volunteering at the Games, which will take place at venues across the North East from July 30 to August 2, to support brother Alex, who is competing in the event.

Alex has already had two kidney transplants, and is now awaiting a donor for a third life-saving operation. He receives dialysis treatment three times a week at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle as he awaits a kidney donor to be found.

The 27-year-old made history in 1991 when he became one of the youngest children ever to have a kidney transplant at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, after being gifted a kidney by his dad Andrew.

Now Joshua, who has followed Alex around the world as he competed in Transplant Games, is getting involved in the event in their native North East in support of his brave brother. As well as volunteering throughout the four-day event, Joshua is also taking part in the 5k Donor Run.

Joshua, a trainee solicitor at Newcastle law firm Sintons, is being joined as a volunteer by his colleague Iona Sweeney, a registered UK Athletics Official who volunteers with Gateshead Harriers. She has volunteered with them regularly since being diagnosed with cancer in 2012.

Joshua, 24, from Jesmond, said: “I am so proud of my brother and how he has coped with his kidney problems, the effects of which he has had to live with every day since he was born. He is now awaiting a third transplant and we hope every day that a donor can be found soon.

“Alex has taken part in Transplant Games around the world since he was four years old and our family has always been there to support him. I am really glad I have been able to get involved in the British Transplant Games in our home region, to be able to participate alongside him.”

Iona, from Gateshead, has dedicated herself to volunteering since being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012, and undergoing five operations and lengthy treatment subsequently.

She said: “While I was off work during that time, I realised that I wanted to do a lot more for other people, and to give something back to my community. I now work with the Gateshead Harriers on a weekly basis and as a registered UK Athletics Official, I volunteer at as many other events as I can.

“At Sintons, I am hugely passionate about being involved in as many community and fundraising projects as I can – the firm were so amazing to me from the moment I was diagnosed, that doing my bit is my way of giving something back to them as well.”

The Westfield Health British Transplant Games NewcastleGateshead 2015 is one of the largest annual multi-sports events in the United Kingdom. The Games will be hosted across NewcastleGateshead 30 July-02 August 2015. The British Transplant Games are organised by the charity Transplant Sport. The four day event celebrates the many incredible achievements of transplant athletes, and highlights not just the benefits of transplantation, but the desperate need for organ donors in the North East and across the UK.

Every 10 minutes, somebody’s name gets added to the donor waiting list whilst three people die every day because they can’t get the organ they need. In the North East alone there are currently more than 300 people waiting for transplants. To join the NHS Organ Donor Register and help save lives TEXT: SAVE to 62323 or call 0300 123 2323.

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