Renowned Transplant Surgeon addresses members of Transplant Team Ireland

PRESS RELEASE                    29th July 2012
(This Press Release can also be accessed by clicking here.)

‘Heroic warriors’ commended in lead up to 7th European Transplant & Dialysis Games

Renowned Transplant Surgeon and thrice All-Ireland football title winner of the 1970’s, Dr. David Hickey, paid tribute to 26 brave athletes who will represent Ireland at the 7th European Transplant & Dialysis Games next month.

Dr. Hickey, the revered surgeon and avid sportsman, gave a special motivational speech to the Irish team when they gathered at ALSAA sports complex, Dublin Airport  (on Sunday 29th July).  His attentive audience included some grateful athletes whose life saving transplant operations were successfully performed by him.

The European Transplant & Dialysis Games will be held in Zagreb, Croatia from 18th –25th August and will involve more than 300 athletes from 28 countries throughout Europe. Every athlete at the Games will either have already received a kidney, liver, heart, lung, pancreas or bone marrow transplant or be on dialysis.

The Irish Team which comprises 17 men and 9 women ranging in age from 18 to 74 includes kidney, liver and pancreas transplant recipients as well as people on dialysis.

In his inspirational speech to the team, Dr. Hickey said, “the goal of successful organ transplantation is not only to save lives, but also to enable the complete physical, social, mental and spiritual rehabilitation of people with organ failure. The success of this aspiration is gloriously seen in this group of heroic warriors who will represent themselves, their donors and Ireland at the Transplant Games & Dialysis Games this August.  They are true Corinthians and more”.

Dr. Hickey is Director of Transplantation at Beaumont Hospital and a consultant urologist and has carried out over 1500 kidney transplants to date. He won a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Irish Healthcare Awards 2011.  He is a passionate sportsman and following his glorious All Ireland football success in the 1970’s and securing two All Stars, he continued his involvement and is now a selector on the current all Ireland title holders, the Dublin Senior Football team.

Speaking about the forthcoming European Games, Mr. Colin White, Team Manager said, “I am excited about this year’s Games in Zagreb. The Irish Team has a great reputation for fair play and strong competitiveness at international events. Our team of 26 competitors, including 6 newcomers, has prepared well and we are looking forward to joining our friends from across Europe in celebrating life through sport. The message from these Games is clear – Organ Donation Works! I encourage the public to Think About It, Talk About It and make a commitment to Organ Donation.”

Team Captain Harry Ward from Baldoyle, Dublin has represented Ireland at numerous international Games events both as a dialysis patient and in more recent years as a transplant recipient thanks to his kidney transplant which he received in 2007.  Also travelling with the team will be Team Medical Director, Dr. Yvonne Ryan, and Team Physiotherapist, Clare Hogan.

Athletes will compete in badminton, tennis, cycling, darts, golf, petanque, swimming, table tennis, ten pin bowling, tennis, volleyball, mini-marathon and track and field events.

The full Irish team are as follows:-

Antrim: John McAleer, Newtownabbey.
Cork: Mike Keohane, Clonakilty; Charlie Ryan, Cobh; Catherine Murphy, Aghabullogue; and Anne Lankester, Roscarbery
Clare: Eoghan O’Neill, Newmarket-on-Fergus
Donegal: Noel McGeever, Letterkenny
Galway: Maura O’Sullivan, Kilcolgan;  and Linda Waters, Athenry.
Kildare: James Nolan, The Curragh.
Laois: Alison Honner, Portlaoise; Niall McAuliffe, Abbeyleix; and Robbie Lyons (youngest team member), the Swan, via Athy.
Limerick: John Loftus, Clarina.
Offaly: Declan Guing, Edenderry
Roscommon: Monica Finn, Roscommon town.
and Shane Lafferty, Monksland, Athlone.
Sligo: Bridie Nicholson, Sligo town and Megan Fahy from Toonaphubble.
Tipperary: Sheila Gregan, Nenagh.
Dublin: Leonard Ryan, Tallaght, D.24; James Reynolds, Tallaght, D.24,
Harry Ward, Team Captain, Baldoyle, D.13; Paul Prendergast, Santry Avenue, D.9;
Owen Kelleher, Lucan; Peter Heffernan, Skerries.

For more information on the European Transplant & Dialysis Games and the Irish athletes visit the Irish team blog www.transplantteamireland.wordpress.com or
visit the Games website www.etdg2012zagreb.com

For an organ donor card Freetext the word DONOR to 50050 or visit website www.ika.ie  It is now possible to download an organ donor card on smartphones  by searching for ‘Donor ECard’  at the iphone store or android market place.

-Ends-

For more information contact:
Colin White, Team Manager tel. 353 1 6205306 mob. 353 87 6843644 Email: colin@ika.ie
Gwen O’Donoghue, Media co-ordinator. Mob.  353 86 8241447 Email: gwenodonoghue1@gmail.com
Harry Ward, Team Captain mob. 353 85 7334329 Email: hwharryward@gmail.com

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