The summer of top-level sporting fixtures continues as young athletes warm up to take part in the British Transplant Games.
Bedford’s Raphael Havard and Emma Beedon, from Oakley, are in training to represent Great Ormond Street Hospital, where they both received kidney transplants.
The pair are joining the GOSH Renal Team to take on athletes from other hospitals at the event, which runs from today (Thursday) to Sunday.
Raphael, 12, became a GOSH patient at nine years old, when he developed a condition which destroyed his kidneys.
He had a transplant eight months later when his father, Duane, donated a kidney.
Duane said: “We’re really excited to be going to the British Transplant Games this year. It’s wonderful to see Raphael enjoying sport so much, and we’re so proud of him.”
Emma, 13, was diagnosed with a growth disorder in 2004 and was admitted to GOSH when her kidneys began to fail. She received a new kidney from her mother, Katy, in 2009.
Katy said: “This will be Emma’s fifth year at the games so it’s a really special year for her.
“I’m so proud of everything she has achieved and I can’t wait to cheer her on.”
The games are being held in Bolton, where Raphael will be competing in badminton, five-a-side football and the 200m sprint.
Emma will take to the pool in the backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly and relay races.
Team managers Suzanne Collin and Suzanne Bradley are looking forward to the event.
Ms Collin said: “The games provide a wonderful arena to raise awareness and celebrate the life-changing gift of organ donation for our transplant patients and their families.
“It is also a momentous opportunity to honour the donors and the donor families through whom these games are made possible.”
Ms Bradley added: “The British Transplant Games are equally about friendships being renewed and made amidst the host of sporting activities that our competitors will actively embark upon as they support each other to achieve their goals and aspirations for the games.
“Each and every member of our team is a hero and we will be cheering them all the way in Bolton.”
The GOSH team is made up of 30 patients from around the country.