Organ recipient awarded Queen’s Honour for ongoing work promoting organ donation

A volunteer ambassador at Swansea-based kidney charity, The Paul Popham Fund, Renal Support Wales, has received a British Empire Medal (BEM) in recognition of her work promoting organ donation and transplant sport.

Tracy Jayne Baker-Griffiths was awarded the honour at her home in Baglan, Neath Port Talbot, after being named in the Queen’s birthday honours list 2021. Presenting the award was HM Lord Lieutenant of West Glamorgan, Louise Fleet, accompanied by the Deputy Lord Lieutenant, Rowland Jones.

The event, which took place on Friday, December 3, also included representatives from Baker-Griffiths’ employer, the Department for Work and Pensions, and her family.

Baker-Griffiths has suffered kidney disease since birth and is a two-times kidney transplant recipient. The first took place in 1989 but failed after 16 years; this was followed by a second transplant in 2007.

Overcoming these challenges, Baker-Griffiths competed for the GB athletics team at international transplant competitions, including the world transplant games, winning various medals in the 100m, 200m, shot putt, and 4x100m relay.

Her experience of living with kidney disease, undergoing both transplant and dialysis procedures, has also led her to become a volunteer ambassador for renal charity, The Paul Popham Fund.

The British Empire Medal is granted in recognition of meritorious civil service, in this case, Baker-Griffiths’ ongoing work promoting organ donation and her involvement with transplant sport and associated charities. Recipients of the award are entitled to use the letters BEM after their names.

Although Baker-Griffiths did not receive the honour from the Queen in person, but from her representative the Lord Lieutenant, it is expected that – along with other similarly honoured individuals – she will be invited to a Buckingham Palace garden party to celebrate her achievement, at a later date.

Tracy Jayne Baker-Griffiths BEM, said:

“When I received the phone call from the cabinet office, I thought it was a joke. I am very honoured to receive this medal for my contribution to organ donation and transplant sport.

“I want to show what having a transplant can do for an individual, a transplant isn’t a cure but another form of treatment, but by far a better treatment than dialysis. I have competed for GB and Wales in the World, European and British transplant competitions and won various medals; however, due to health issues, I am unable to compete now, but wish to encourage as many people as possible to take part if they can.”

Jo Popham, CEO at the Paul Popham Fund, said:

“Tracy has supported the charity since its inception in 2013. We are absolutely delighted to have her onboard with PPF as an ambassador, and so proud of her achievements personally, inspiring others like her to achieve their goals!

“The Trustees of the Paul Popham Fund and I are thrilled that Tracy is being recognised for her achievements and contribution to organ donation and transplant sport.”