The North East will host the British Transplant Games for those who have had organ transplant surgery, and for donor families.
Newcastle and Gateshead will stage the games at which hundreds of competitors will descend for the fun four-day event next summer.
Competitors will take part in a range of sporting activities, including swimming, golf, archery, table tennis, five-a-side football and track and field at Gateshead International Stadium and various venues across the region.
A Donor Run, open to the public, will also take place along the NewcastleGateshead Quayside.
Sarah Stewart, chief executive at destination management and marketing organisation NewcastleGateshead Initiative, said: “It is fantastic news that the British Transplant Games will take place in NewcastleGateshead.
“The destination is renowned not just for hosting first-class sporting and cultural events, but our universities and hospitals are true pioneers in transplant surgery – so it’s extremely fitting that the games will take place at Gateshead International Stadium and other venues across the North East.
“I wish everyone taking part in such an inspirational event, the very best of luck.”
Founded in 1978, the Transplant Games encourage patients to regain fitness, demonstrate the benefits of transplantation and promote awareness of the need for more organ donation.
The world-renowned Institute of Transplantation at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital performs hundreds of transplants a year.
It is not the first time that the games has been held in the North East as the region also hosted the event in 2000.
North East businessman Graham Wylie is chairing the organising committee for the 2015 Games and said: “The games were last in the region in 2000, and the logistics and planning for 2015 are now well under way. We will be working together with the region and local and national businesses to make this bigger and better than ever.”
Three people die every day waiting for a transplant and more than 7,000 people are currently on the organ donor waiting list. The games aim is to raise awareness and importance of organ donation.
Coun Peter Mole, Gateshead Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, Sport and Leisure, said: “Gateshead has a long established reputation for staging major sporting events and we are delighted and privileged to host the British Transplant Games 2015 NewcastleGateshead.
“The athletes competing have had life-changing experiences and are a true inspiration to us all. We would encourage everyone to come along to the games and show their support for all these amazing competitors.”
Rachel Hooley, 10, from Cramlington, Northumberland, has just returned from Bolton where she took part in this year’s games.
Rachel, who underwent a heart transplant in February 2012, scooped bronze medals in the swimming relay, cup stacking and tug of war.
She said: “The British Transplant games are coming to Gateshead and Newcastle in 2015 and I can’t wait.”
The 2015 NewcastleGateshead Transplant Games will take place from July 30 until August 2 next year.