GB&NI Team Captain for Donor Families and Live Donors at the Winter World Transplant Games, Bormio 2024

Tom’s Mum from Havering, London Ambassador for Organ Donation and Donor Family Network Member has been honoured with the role of GB&NI Team Captain for Donor Families and Live Donors at the Winter World Transplant Games, Bormio 2024. 

Lisa Wilson, a former PE teacher in London Borough of Havering and donor Mum was delighted to accept the role and proudly wear the GB flag.

21 teams took part 3rd – 8th March in Bormio. Great Britain & NI the largest team with 45 registered. The GB Team included 17 transplants, 8 live donors and 3 donor family members competing. They were accompanied by a further 20 supporters and volunteers.

The team included 4 juniors. Over 50% of the team were new members! The transplant athletes have all survived either a heart, kidney, liver, multi visceral, and bone marrow transplants, and come from all parts of the UK.

The World Transplant Winter Games, usually take place every two years and are supported by the International Olympic Committee. Due to the pandemic, the last time the Winter Games took place was 2020 in Banff, Canada. Events included Alpine Events Giant Ski Slalom, Grand Slalom, Cross Country Skiing, Curling and Orienteering.

Speaking about her experience Lisa said, ‘It was a wonderful opportunity to meet and hear such heart-warming stories of resilience and positivity. In my role as Team GB&NI captain I proudly led out the Donor Families/Live Donor at the opening ceremony. I also organised a social event to share International experiences and was honoured to speak and present medals at one of the medal ceremonies. In my Volunteer role I thoroughly enjoyed collecting race bibs at the finish line on the ski slopes and seeing such joy on the faces of recipients competing and enjoying a second chance at life. A highlight was seeing Tom’s stickers dotted around the resort and displayed on ski equipment and accreditation badges!

Lisa as a local Donor Mum has worked tirelessly to promote organ donation since her son Tom, aged 22, tragically died in a hockey accident in December 2015. When the family found out Tom had signed the NHS Organ Donation register as a fresher at Nottingham Trent University aged 18, their consent led to Tom saving and improving the lives of up to 50 people due to organ and tissue donation. Part of his liver went to a little girl, Fatima, who was 2 years old and is now 9, his heart to a gentleman called Gordon who is now 69. Lisa has had the pleasure of meeting these recipients and encouraged them to participate in the British Transplant Games 2022, Leeds which they proudly opened onstage at the opening ceremony with Tom’s Baton.

Dr Paul Harden, Chair of Trustees for Transplant Sport, said: “The Games are an important reminder of the importance of physical health and wellbeing and how organ donation gives the gift of life and opportunities to so many”.

Liz Schick, President of the WTGF says ‘The World Transplant Winter Games are special, a unique event amid the beauty of nature and breathtaking mountains. We are all very excited for Bormio 2024. A special thanks to all donors and donor families. Without them, we simply wouldn’t be here.”

Finally, many congratulations to all the GB&NI team competitors as Team GB topped the medal tables with 25 gold medals beating hosts Italy into second place!

Lisa Wilson