Baton sets out for the World Transplant Games in Australia
The Gift of Life Baton has begun its journey across Australia, officially beginning the countdown to the World Transplant Games to be held in Perth next year.
The baton is a gift to the world transplant community from Transplant Australia and the Australian Government, to act as a universal beacon for organ donation between each World Transplant Games.
Unveiled in Switzerland last month by the World Transplant Games Federation, it is presented to the Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care. Before arriving in Perth for the start of the Games in April 2023, it will now travel to hospitals, communities, and sports events throughout Australia.
Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care, Ged Kearney said that organ donation rates have declined during the pandemic. With the World Transplant Games, public conversations are hoped to spark the importance of signing up to be an organ donor.
“Just one organ donor can save up to seven lives. With so many Australians waiting for organ transplants, I hope these games stir more Australians, and especially younger people, to register as donors,” Kearney said.
The ceremony was jointly hosted by Transplant Australia and the Parliamentary Friends of Organ Donation. The Government has committed $1.6 million to Transplant Australia to support the World Transplant Games.
While the games are usually held every two years, due to COVID-19, this will be the first physical event since 2019. More than 1300 athletes have received either an organ or bone marrow transplant and thousands of supporters from around the world are expected to attend.
Minister for Sport, Anika Wells said, “The World Transplant Games will inspire us to be better people, to care about our health and be inclusive and compassionate as we walk down the green and gold runway towards Brisbane 2032.”
“These Games are unique because every athlete is proof of the incredible gift we can provide to save lives by registering as an organ donor,” Wells said.