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Patients go for gold at Lymphaletics event

The Lymphaletics competitors
A Sheffield sports centre played host to a special event to help children suffering with a rare medical condition.  
The Lymphaletics took place at Concord Sports Centre and saw 150 people from all over the UK travel to Sheffield to take part in activities including gymnastics, swimming, trampolining and athletics.  
Hosted by specialist support group, The Children’s Lymphoedema Special Interest Group (CLSIG), the event brought together families affected by the little-known condition.

Formed more than seven years ago, CLSIG operates throughout the UK and organises the Lymphaletics event every two years. This is the third time the Lymphaletics has taken place and offers children and their families the opportunity to interact with others affected by the condition.  

Lymphoedema is a chronic condition causing swelling in the body’s tissues and can affect any part of the body, but usually develops in the arms or legs. The condition can be caused by cancer treatments but in children it is more often inherited or caused by a birth defect within the lymphatic system. The condition is currently incurable but a number of treatments can alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life.  

Denise Hardy, one of the founders of CLSIG, said: “We are so pleased with how well the Lymphaletics went at Concord. The venue helped make the event hugely special for all of the families who came to Sheffield for the occasion.  

“The facilities were brilliant – there was space set up for the children to do handicrafts and the sensory rooms offered them a space where they could go and relax for a while, away from all of the activities. There was even a separate area where we could do an educational slot – so very well received by the parents of these youngsters.  

“The staff at Concord were phenomenal and couldn’t have helped us enough. A lot of the children had very particular dietary requirements and the catering team was so helpful in ensuring that every need was met.  

“From the manager, to the people behind the desk at reception, everyone was so accommodating and I’m thankful for all the help we received.  

“We really want to build on the success of the Lymphaletics so we can carry on hosting the event and bring together families who have been affected by the condition.”  

Concord is operated by SIV, which is part of the not-for-profit Sheffield City Trust whose primary objective is to improve the health and wellbeing of Sheffield people by providing facilities for sport and leisure activities.  

Dominic Stokes, head of events at SIV, said: “The Lymphaletics were a resounding success and we are proud that Concord was chosen to host and help CLSIG deliver this event.  

“The venue’s versatile facilities and spaces, such as the multipurpose sports hall and sensory rooms, were ideal for the Lymphoedema patients. Seeing the positivity of the young people who took part and the impact that sports activities can have on their lives was hugely rewarding for all of the staff involved.”

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