Doctors, nurses, patients and celebrities took part in a bed-bike challenge to raise awareness of the need to talk about Organ Donation today.
World renowned opera singer and organ donation activist, Rhys Meirion, joined dialysis patients and organ recipients, donor families and hospital staff for an all day ‘bikathlon’ in hospitals in North Wales in advance of his epic ‘Lap of Wales’ challenge in July. Singer Bryn Fon, classical singer and songwriter Sioned Terry and comedian Dilwyn Morgan in the special day.
The youngest participants in the ‘bikathon’ were Jack and Joshua Parry, 11 year old identical twins from Maesgeirchen, Bangor, who received kidneys from the same donor two years ago. Mum Lisa said:
“Jack and Joshua were diagnosed with cystinosis, a genetic disorder that affects the kidneys first, when they were six. They’d only been on the transplant waiting list for three days when we received the call to say that a match had been found.
“The boys had the operation at the same time but they didn’t see each other for the first week as they were in separate rooms, which was really hard for them. It was an emotional experience for all of us.
“They’ll be on medication for the rest of their lives, they need to go to Alder Hey every six weeks still and it’s really likely they’ll need another transplant in the future, but this transplant has really transformed their lives. The twins have so much more energy now. They both enjoy playing football and are really pleased to be a part of this bikathon.
“If anyone asks why it’s important to talk about organ donation they should just look at our family and see how someone else’s kidneys have allowed Jack and Joshua to get so much more out of life.”
“The aim of today was to raise awareness of the need to talk about organ donation. The brilliant healthcare staff who organised today care for people who are waiting for transplants and donor families.
“I really hope that through the Lap of Wales and the Recycle bike rides that are being organised as part of the Lap we can help make a difference for the many families that are affected by organ donation across Wales.”
The eight day ‘Lap of Wales’ challenge, taking place from 4th July, will see Rhys and other Welsh celebrities using wild and wacky modes of transport to get around Wales. The challengers aim to help promote the need to talk about organ donation with loved ones and to raise awareness of the new organ donation opt out law which will be in place in Wales from 1 December this year. Under the new law, unless a person has stated a decision not to be a donor, they will be regarded as having no objection to donation.
For more information or to register for a ‘Recycle’ bike ride please go to www.lapof.wales .