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The British transplant games 2015

On the 28th July I travelled up to newcastle at 4am to attend my 5month post transplant clinic review, as usual I did lung function, x-ray, blood tests and saw my consultant. All my results were good so my consultant was very pleased with me and wished me the best of luck for the weekend in which I was to take part in the transplant games!

After clinic we went to pizza express for lunch before driving even further north to stay at a bed and breakfast in Hexham. We decided that it made sense to stay up north and we would have a 2 day mini break before the games began on the 30th of July! We arrived at the bed and breakfast late afternoon and dropped our bags off before heading straight out again to visit my dads, mums, cousin and her daughter and granddaughter who lived in the area and whom my dad hadn't seen for years! My Dads extended family is huge, I must have hundreds of relatives! It was a really nice evening at we managed to chat the night away not leaving until 11pm, absolutely exhausted from the 4am start we'd had!
The bridge house B&B
After a good night sleep and hearty breakfast at the B&B we headed out on foot to the town of Hexham to explore! We visited Hexham Abbey, it was huge and the detail of design was incredible! Everywhere I looked was intricate stone or wood carving or huge multi coloured stain glass, it really was a stunning building! Pottering around the town we came across a vintage home wear shop that I adored, 4 stories of everything you can imagine from the past! I bought a set of Russian dolls a hand embroidered table cloth and a mini cup and saucer! On the opposite side of the road was a wool shop, I'd wanted some new wool to crochet with for ages so I managed to get my hands on some super bright colours for a new project! After a lovely lunch at the Hexham Abbey cafe we drove into the countryside to see Haidrians wall, I was rather disappointed, I had imagined something like the great wall of China but was met with the sight of a few mounds of rock, should have checked my history!
Beautiful russian Dolls in the vintage shop
On Thursday morning we decided to visit the nearby village of Corbridge before heading down to gateshead for the transplant games in the afternoon! Corbridge was lovely, full of more vintage shops and a patisserie full of mouth watering cakes! After a mooch around the shops we got some cakes and began the journey to gateshead!
Delicious cakes at the patisserie 
The whole of team Freeman were staying at the Ramada Hotel in Gateshead, when we arrived, the foyer was a hubbub of activity! Everyone adorned the white freeman kit and were beaming with happiness! At 5pm all 60+ athletes and supporters left the hotel to gather in Newcastle city centre where we marched through the streets in a similar way to olympic athletes parade around the stadium! Whilst waiting to set off I was asked to do an interview for local TV channel 'made in tyne and wear'. Here is the link to my interview, I appear at 5mins 30secs: http://player.piksel.com/player.php?video_uuid=k449zb2o&categoryId=70389

Team freeman ready to parade!
The atmosphere in the square where all the teams had gathered was of excitement and happiness! Each team in a different colour kit, music playing and lots of cheering, it was fantastic! I was given the job of carrying our team sign meaning I would be at the front of our team leading the way in the parade! At 6pm the marching band started up and the parade began! I felt so proud marching through newcastle with my team showing how fantastic organ donation is! Members of the public clapped and waved as we marched along! The parade ended at the City hall where the opening ceremony took place. The ceremony involved the passing of the transplant sport flag from Boltons home team to Newcastle/Gateshead home team (us) and the lighting of the transplant flame. Joe McEldry also performed a few songs which was good! After the ceremony we all headed back to the hotel and had a big team meal, it was great to meet all the other members of my team and swap stories of our transplant experiences! I was given lots of good advice for my recovery and future which I have found very helpful!

After a good night sleep and lazy morning me and my parents got up for breakfast, I had a full fry up to give me as much energy as possible for my cycle event later that day! I was competing in a 5km cycle ride at Leazes park by St James stadium in Newcastle, they had set out a 1km lap that I was to complete 5 times in a time trial. When we arrived at the park my nerves began to jangle! Everyone had lycra on, proper racing bikes and even had rolling roads to warm up on and there was me in my nike leggings and trainers a cheapo tesco helmet we'd bought 2 days before and my sisters 10 year old mountain bike. But I was there and I was determined to complete the course. It was the taking part that counted to me, I was only 5 months post transplant and only 3 months out of hospital, being there was an achievement in itself.
Keeping warm in my hoodie pre-race!
I had lots of supporters there to cheer me on, my parents, cousins, great aunt and fellow teammates as well as the lovely Oli Lewington from the CF trust! The support was needed as the course was far from easy, the lap had a large hill for half of it that seemed to climb forever, my legs felt like jelly by my 3rd lap and it took so much inner determination and sheer grit to complete my final 2 laps!

Concentrating on cycling, lap 3 I think!

When I finished relief washed over me, I could feel my heart beating in my ears and my mouth was parched! I was handed a bottle of water and laid on the grass getting my breath back and let my heart slow into normal rhythm! With the help of some of my team mates supporters I walked back to the start area to find my parents and have a much needed massage from the physios!

Leg massage on my tense muscles!
The massage worked wonders as I awoke the next morning with no aches or pain whatsoever! I was relieved about this as I had my 3km speed walk to contend with that day! It was called the 'donor walk/run' that my mum and dad would be doing with me as it was an open event for both recipients and people on the donor register to take part in. I sped walked the entire 3km along the Quayside  except for the last 200metres in which I sprinted as fast as I could across the millennium bridge to the finish line! The 3 of us finished with a respectable time of 21 minutes! Everyone that took part got a medal for their efforts!
On the gateshead Quays with our medals
On sunday I was supposed to be having a relaxed day with no events and just enjoy myself watching the athletics at the stadium! However, at the start of the afternoon it became apparent the 100m relay team was all male and with it being a mixed event needed a female! I volunteered to fill the space so the team could compete! I was second in the relay and was given a straight bit of the track to run which made it easier! It was an exciting event to take part in and made me realise I'd like to participate in more track events next year!

Receiving the Batten! 
The games culminated in a gala dinner at the Sage Gateshead (the big silver bubble looking building by the tyne bridge!). It was a great final evening to celebrate the weekends events! I was nominated to carry the transplant sport flag on to the stage along with 2 other teammates to pass on to the Liverpool team who will host next years games! It was a proud and poignant moment! By the end of the weekend I had made lots of new friends from all walks of life who have been brought together by the gift of life that is transplant! I can't wait to compete in next years games where I aim to have a racing bike and enter more events! A big thank you to Vicky our team manager who without the weekend would not have been possible for team freeman! She's our star! 

Holly 
x


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  2. Nice post!! I enjoyed a lot reading this. I am a big party lover and always throw fun parties. I invite all my friends and family to my parties. Currently I am doing arrangements for the Christmas party at Seattle venues. I am really excited for this!!

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