A TRANSPLANT Games volunteer is spreading the message about organ donations after her mum’s death.

Linda Ross, originally from East Herrington and living in nearby New Herrington, Sunderland, is working behind the scenes and in front of spectators at the Transplant Games where she will be on medal ceremony duties.

She said: “I was always going to be a volunteer for the Transplant Games because of what I went through last year when my mum died. She had a brain aneurysm and her kidneys and liver were donated. She was 78 when she died and the organs were healthy. That is another thing to remember, you are not always too old to donate.”

The transplant games start today and are on until Friday, August 24, with competitions and events in Tyneside and three of the 16 sports in Sunderland – swimming at Sunderland Aquatic Centre, cycling at Hetton Lyons Country Park and ten pin bowling at Hollywood Bowling Washington.

Linda, 52, who works as a receptionist at Durham’s Travelodge, first started volunteering as a teenage Girl Guide. Last year she helped out at Sunderland’s Tall Ships events, and she is a regular this summer at Sunderland City Council’s BIG events programme where she is Roary, the BIG events mascot.

Before her death in May last year, Linda’s mum, Janet, had worked as a children’s nurse for many years and always urged relations and friends to be donors.

Linda said: “Yes, she always wanted people to carry a card and sign up as donors.

“I feel very proud that even with her death she was able to help others live.

“One of mum’s kidneys also went for medical research so, who knows, it might be that a cure for kidney disease could also come from my mum.”

The kidney donation was to a woman in Yorkshire and the liver to a man in Newcastle.

Linda said: “I have received updates about them and I understand they are both well.

“This is another reason why I’m involved with the transplant games as my mum always said people should be donors, because you are giving people the gift of life.

“As we’re about to see at the Transplant Games, many people do go onto live very healthy and very active lives, and we should support them at the games.”

All those taking part in the games are either recipients of organ or tissue transplant, living donors or donor families. Sports range from athletics, basketball and cycling, to football, swimming, Petanque and volleyball.

People can watch the swimming at Sunderland Aquatic Centre on Tuesday, August 20 and the following day, cycling at Hetton Lyons Country Park on Tuesday, August 20 and ten pin bowling at Hollywood Bowling Washington on Monday. August 19 and the following day.

Linda said: “It would be nice and really appreciated if people came along to watch the competitors. I know my mum would have been interested in seeing all these people who have these new opportunities because of a transplant.”

Linda added: “Roary is always involved with all the fun and all the games at our BIG events and all the children, especially the younger ones really do love him.”

To sign up to the NHS Organ donor register visit:https://www.organdonation.nhs.uk and for more information about the World Transplant Games visit http://worldtransplantgames.org.