Tom's Baton sets off from Royal London Hospital celebrating 50 patients who received his donated organs
PUBLISHED: 17:20 14 August 2019
A baton representing the 50 patients who benefited from Tom Wilson's organs after he died at the age of 22 playing hockey has begun its symbolic relay from the Royal London Hospital to the World Transplant Games.
It set off from Whitechapel to travel onto other organ transplant centres at Oxford, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds on its journey to the Games opening in Newcastle on Monday.
Six-year-old Fatima Mirza, was one of the patients who received part of Tom's liver in at operation at the Royal London. She returned to start the relay.
The baton was created in memory of Tom, a talented hockey player from Upminster who lost his life in an accident during hockey training at Old Loughtonians in 2015, when he was struck in the head by a ball.
His parents Lisa and Graham agreed to donate his organs and tissue.
Lisa, who lost her husband eight weeks later, has become a passionate campaigner for organ donation.
She said: "Tom's legacy is the gift of life he gave to the 50 people who received his organs and tissue transplant.
"His baton symbolises the passing on of something precious which has a link to sport that Tom and his dad loved so much."
The baton, with its two bronze hands representing giving and receiving of "the gift of life", was originally presented to the Transplant Sport charity which raises awareness of organ donation.
The Royal London's transplants and renal medicine consultant Raj Thuraisingham said: "Transplants allow patients to return to near-normal life which is shown in their ability to return to physical activity.
"These Games show what transplants can do to return people to their full potential. Those taking part are an inspiration for patients with all forms of kidney disease."
Recipients of Tom's organs were at the start of the relay in Whitechapel and are also going to be at the finish in Newcastle. The Games taking place from August 17 to 23 celebrate a second chance of life for 2,500 people taking part.
Tom died at the Royal London after being brought in by air ambulance following the accident just before Christmas 2015. A two-hour toll of bells was rung at St Andrew's parish church in Hornchurch on June 25 in his memory, on what would have been his 26th birthday.