Friday, November 21, 2008

Organ transplant couple met at transplant games

Brian and Janette Unwin
And the couple lived happily ever after ...

If you haven't participated in the transplant games and are still looking for love you might just find it at the games, so why not plan on going to the World Transplant Games August, 2009 in Australia if you are eligible?

By Nicola Davies Warrington Guardian, UK

AN Orford couple who met after both had organ transplants are urging potential donors to join the register to give others the gift of life.

Brian and Janette Unwin, of Mardale Avenue, married in June after meeting in 1992 at the annual British Transplant Games when they competed against each other in a volleyball contest.

Janette, aged 43, underwent her first transplant 26 years ago while hubby, Brian, aged 48, had a heart transplant 20 years ago.

Janette said: “The games are held to let people know what those who have had transplants can do.

“Before having a transplant people are often so desperately ill and afterwards it is amazing to be able to do things you could only have dreamt about.”

Janette spent three years receiving dialysis treatment before her body rejected the first donor kidney. She received her second transplant days before her 26th birthday.

She added: “It was a new lease of life. I couldn’t really do much before and I hope that anyone thinking of joining the donor register would sign up as it is helping someone to live after another person has died.”

“You Have the Power to Save Lives – Sign Your Donor Card & Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”

Register to be a donor in Ontario or Download Donor Cards from Trillium Gift of Life Network
For other Canadian provinces click here

In the United States, be sure to find out how to register in your state at or Download Donor Cards from OrganDonor.Gov

Your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants. One tissue donor can help up to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves

The couple, who are one of several to find love at the games, said they hit it off straight away.

Brian, who was born with a congenital heart defect, had various operations from birth to the age of 18 until his transplant at the age of 27.

He said: “If I hadn’t had a transplant I would be dead by now.

“I had been a blueish colour before the operation but straight afterwards I began to turn pink.

“My childhood had been very quiet, I couldn’t walk very far, let alone run. The difference to my life was amazing, I could breathe and I had energy.

“Since then I have travelled extensively and competed in the World Transplant Games in Japan.”

There are currently around 8,000 people in the UK who need an organ transplant but only 3,000 operations are carried out annually and every year, 1,000 people die waiting for a transplant.

This week saw Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s bid to opt-out of organ donation quashed in a Governmental review, but the couple were keen to highlight it should not be seen as an obligation.

Brian added: “We are so grateful to the donors and their families and we would like to see as many people as possible carrying a donor card.”

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