If you have followed our journey over the last 10-12 months, you’ll know that the 15 people in our company came together to fundraise for The World Transplant Games 2019.
The Games were hosted by our home region as events were held across Newcastle and Gateshead, to raise awareness for the Organ Donor Register.
The Games are held every year by a different city across the world and are hosted to give historic organ donors and recipient their very own Olympic style games, to celebrate their achievements.
In August 2019, Newcastle, Gateshead and Sunderland welcomed 3000 athletes from all over the world spanning Israel to Australia to Ethiopia. They competed in many different events, such as badminton, tennis, athletics, football, golf and so many more. All athletes had either received or donated an organ, along with the most important of them all, the organ donor families.
“The World Transplant Games are a celebration of a second chance of life, demonstrating the success of transplant surgery and promoting the need to raise public awareness of organ and tissue donation.”
We chose The World Transplant Games as our Charity Of The Year after our Managing Director, Andrew Rowley was invited to a business briefing about the week-long event and was truly drawn in by the heartening stories he heard.
Andrew was then so inspired, he relayed the anecdotes back to the company and it was decided that we would all pull together to support, fundraise and volunteer where we could.
An ambitious target
Frontier are a powerful company – yet relatively small in the grand scheme of things – and our Managing Director has never been one to shy away from stretch targets.
When I was told that our fundraising target was £10,000 and we had one year to reach it, I can honestly say I had what can only be described as a mild panic attack followed by internal screaming. I suddenly found myself dividing 10,000 by 15, by 12 then 52.
Once I had gotten over the difference between the number of pounds vs the number of people, I came up with a cunning plan.
We decided to split the company into two teams, Team Red and Team Blue. This would be a sure way to create a competitive and ambitious rivalry, to give individual people more of a sense of the targets they were aiming for.
Over the year, we managed to raise funds in many different and inventive ways. We secured partnerships with our suppliers to donate a percentage of our orders, we put on a Charity Golf Day at Close House, did a charity cycle event and even got up at 6am on a Sunday to do a car boot sale!
But amidst all the fundraising and challenges we had going on, the true cause was never far from our minds.
The greatest gift one could possibly give
Right now, there are over 6000 people in the UK waiting for an organ transplant and over 150 of those are children or teenagers.
The World Transplant Games committee gave us some heart-wrenching statistics, which in turn gave us purpose and helped us never to lose sight of what was important.
Of those 6000 people, 3 people die every single day waiting for a transplant. Now, we know this can be a difficult subject, as in most cases an organ would come from someone that has passed on and the window of decision after passing is very small, hours in fact.
With that in mind, the most important part of this story is the conversation surrounding organ donation.
Even if you are on the Organ Donor Register, your family can still override your decision to donate your organs – this happens some 40% of the time.
The decision for your family to donate your organs would be one of the hardest decisions of their lifetime. That’s why it’s so important to talk to your loved ones and tell them your wishes.
We heard from Lisa Wilson, Mother of Tom, who died tragically in a sporting accident at the age of 22. Lisa found out that Tom was on the Organ Donor Register and agreed for his organs to be donated. In turn, Tom’s organs and tissue saved the lives of 50 different people, with his heart saving the life of a 65 year old gentleman. You can read her story here.
One giant cheque for one giant donation
I was personally quite heavily involved in the organisation of the Frontier fundraising, so I had the pleasure of getting to know the organisers, fundraisers and even some of the athletes. I was also invited to the World Transplant Games Opening and Closing Ceremonies, along with key staff at Frontier. These events were a wonderful experience of nations coming together to celebrate one common passion.
At the Closing Ceremony, we celebrated our year of fundraising, looking back on all the challenges we had completed and remembered the proud moments we had experienced together.
We celebrated the end of this sentimental era, by handing over a cheque for £15,500 to the Chairman of the Games, Mr Graham Wylie.
We had not only reached our target but exceeded it by a whopping 55%!
We’d like to thank all of our supporters who helped us achieve this amazing figure, including Eurostar, our hardware partners for their incredible percentage donation.
We’d also like to thank all of the WTG committee, for supporting us and our goal with their heart-warming stories of inspiration.
But most importantly, we’d like to thank our employees, for getting on board, realising the potential of what we could achieve and never giving up on our target.
You can sign up to be an Organ Donor here.