History of the EHLTF and the European Championships

EHLTF is a federation of European Associations of Heart and Lung Transplant Patients. It was formally established in Helsinki, Finland, on 3 July 1994, when representatives of 15 European Heart or Lung Transplant Associations signed the protocol accepting the Federation’s bylaws.

The participating countries were Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. There are currently 19 member countries. On October 13, 2005, the name was amended to: European Heart and Lung Transplant Federation (EHLTF) (https://www.ehltf.org/ehltf/what-is-ehltf).

Since a modest beginning of the games in 1989 have been held every 2 years hosted by member countries. The most recent games took place in Italy (https://www.lignano2018-ehltc.org/index.php/en/information/ehltc-games/ehltc-2018-location).

The main objective of the games is to illustrate the very positive benefits of organ donation and transplant and to show the general public a return to a full and active life, including the professional activities of transplant recipients.

Games are also used to encourage organ donor awareness and to encourage post-transplant rehabilitation of the recipient through sport and physical activity. This is why the games are called:

“The Games of life”

XVIII European Heart and Lung Transplant Championships 2020

The XVIII European Heart and Lung Transplant Championships, organized by the Corazón Sin Fronteras Association (hereinafter CSF) and the Spanish Federation of Heart Transplant Patients (hereinafter the FETCO), with the support of The European Heart and Lung Transplant Federation (EHLTF) (https://www.ehltf.org/) will be held in Vitoria-Gasteiz in June 2020.

The European Championships are a multi-sport event with volleyball, tennis, table tennis, cycling, pétanque, swimming, golf and athletics competitions among others. Competitors will be divided into age categories (18-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70+). It is a sporting event of wide scope and diffusion that is expected to attract more than 600 people coming from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK. (https://www.ehltf.org/ehltf/list-of-members). Approximately 250 participants and 250 to 350 accompanying persons are expected to arrive

This event will be held at the Mendizorrotza Sports Complex and at Izki Golf Club Urturi, with the collaboration of Vitoria-Gasteiz City Council, the Provincial Government of Alava, the Basque Government and the University of the Basque Country (UPV-EHU) as public entities, as well as with the support of several private entities. There will also be an approximate number of 80 volunteers.

First of all, the aim of these games is to promote organ donation, as well as to raise awareness about cardiovascular disease. The games are an example of healthy living habits for both transplant recipients and also for the general population, with a special focus on people with risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

From the patient associations we are aware that we patients have the responsibility to contribute and we must work to disseminate prevention. Therefore, this is a great opportunity that Corazón Sin Fronteras has acquired to promote the donation and prevention of CVD.

It is well known that Heart Failure (H.F.) is the prelude to heart transplantation when patients do not improve to the established treatments, so from Corazón Sin Fronteras we want to take this opportunity to spread the prevention of Heart Failure through the following activities:

  • Information stand in the sports facilities, with the support of specialized personnel.
  • Presentation of delicate and dynamic lives with the presence of a specialist…

Assembly of the European Heart and Lung Transplant Championships 2019

Before hosting the games, an assembly has been held in Vitoria-Gasteiz on 12, 13 and 14 June 2019 with the participation of 1-2 representatives from each country of the transplant associations that have taken part in the games. In total, approximately 30-40 representatives will be attending the assembly.

The following activities will take place in conjunction with this European Assembly:

  • Presentation of the Organizing Committee of CSF and FETCO, and representatives of the different organizations that will support and collaborate in the celebration of the Assembly and subsequent games (Hotel Silken Ciudad de Vitoria).
  • Official reception of the participants (Hotel Silken Ciudad de Vitoria).
  • Visit to the Sports facilities in which the games will take place.
  • Presentation of the programme of socio-cultural activities.

Award of the organization of the European Heart and Lung Transplant Championships 2020 to Vitoria–Gasteiz

Corazón Sin Fronteras has been working on this project since 2016, when we received the visit of the committee of the European Heart and Lung Transplant Federation (EHLTF) in Vitoria-Gasteiz (https://www.ehltf.org/contact) along with the support of the City Council of Vitoria-Gasteiz and the Provincial Government of Alava.

After this visit, and after taking them to know the sports facilities we have in Vitoria-Gasteiz, The European Heart and Lung Transplant Federation (EHLTF) confirmed the organisation of the Championships in 2020.

We have recently attended the Lignano EHLTC 2018 Games (http://www.lignano2018-ehltc.org/index.php) where we have picked up the baton, which publicly grants the concession of the organization for 2020 before the participants of the games (https://www.facebook.com/EHLTC/videos/1749452731787052/).

The award of the 2020 games and their development in Vitoria-Gasteiz (https://www.ehltf.org/) can be seen on the EHLTF website.

Dissemination of the project​

Our organization has specialists in media and social networks that will be responsible for disseminating all the activities that we carry out during the games through different media. Corazón Sin Fronteras currently has a very good relationship with different media and has been doing so for several years.

Below you can see some examples of news that we have disseminated in the media:

The aim of this diffusion is to highlight the importance of organ donation, to give visibility to cardiovascular disease as well as to the entities and organizations aware of this reality.

Therefore, the diffusion of the:

  • Website and social networks.
  • Press releases for the media.

A specific website will be created for these games, which will be accessible in May 2019. This website will not only be the means of diffusion and communication with the users and participating European countries, but also the means of diffusion that will help us in our environment and at a national level to achieve, together with the news, the most important thing: to reach the population with our message “Donation is life, take care of your heart with healthy habits”

That is why this website will not only be the means to inform about the schedule of the games, but will also be the place of information for the population, patients, families and institutions where to access recommendations for healthy habits and promotion and prevention of cardiovascular disease.

Sports events are, above all, particular social events that are distinguished by having been planned and promoted with the idea of attracting the attention of different social groups to the practice or observation of an organized physical activity. They are carried out sporadically and generally have a positive impact on the place where they are held: tourism, infrastructure, economic, social, sporting and political.

The communication strategy is developed with the clear objective of attracting and maintaining the interest in the competition of potential participants, public, sponsors and all the agents who will intervene. Through a well-structured programme they will receive regular information about the activities and progress of the championship. The promotion is a key tool in the organization of the event to make it known before it takes place and at the same time not to let it go unnoticed and fall into oblivion, once it has concluded.

There are some tools that can be used for the promotion and diffusion of the sport competition and that will allow us to generate information and messages aimed at creating, maintaining and improving the relationship with the different targets of the event, as well as projecting a favourable image of the organization:

  • Official website.
  • Social Networks: it is important to introduce the event on networks such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Therefore, there will be a place for participants or fans to share impressions and interact virtually with each other and with the organization before, during and after the championship. The values of the event are transmitted through a good hashtag (# life games) generating feedback.
  • Advertising: in written press, radio spots, television ads, specialized sports magazines, advertising banners in sports forums and websites, informative brochures…
  • Promotional activities: carrying out activities in support of the different sports in order to promote them in schools, colleges, universities in the city or its surroundings. Organising training and improvement sessions, campuses…
  • Programmes and agreements with sports federations.

While older people may be better informed through more traditional methods, adults and young people are reached almost exclusively through digital channels.

The dissemination campaign of the event and its degree of visualization is important, because the support of the population is a key external factor in its success.

A plan is proposed to disseminate the values of organ donation and transplant through presentations in schools, sports clubs, companies, etc.


24 September 2018 – El Correo

29 September 2018 – Gasteiz HOY

19 November 2018 – Radio Vitoria

12 January 2019 – El Correo

2 February 2019 – Mundo Maldini YouTube channel

12 June 2019 – Press release to the media on the occasion of the visit of the EFLTF Committee and the member representatives to Vitoria – Gasteiz.

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