By Sarah May
Nenagh native and kidney transplant recipient Orla Hogan Ryan secured two silver medals in her swimming events today. Orla secured silver in both the 50m freestyle and 50m breaststroke competitions today. Orla attended her first Games in 2004 at the European Transplant & Dialysis Championships in Slovenia and this years Games in Finland are her 8th Games to attend . This is an eventful week for Orla as she will celebrate her 10 year wedding anniversary to her husband Ger Ryan tomorrow. Orla plans on spending her anniversary checking out the sights of Helsinki with fellow Team Ireland members while obviously keeping Ger closely in her thoughts!
She was thrilled with her success earlier today and paid credit to her mother for training with her in the pool.
Orla comes from a well known sporting family in Tipperary, her father played hurling for Tipperary when they won the all-Ireland hurling finals in 1971. Orla comes from a family of six children, including her brother Cathal who donated his kidney to her in 2008.
Orla brings a fantastic energy and witty humour to the team which is appreciated by not only Team Ireland but competitors from other countries, games officials and volunteers.
Fellow team member and long-time Team Ireland member Mick Dwyer described Orla as having, “a positive attitude that never falters. ” He discussed the fact that she has been, ” A happy and joyful person throughout her times with us”, and he wished her a huge congratulations on her 10 year anniversary to Ger.
Donegal native Kieran Murray attends the Games for the third time this year and Orla has already made a distinct impression on him. Kieran said, “Orla is full of life, she is a real character. She never lets anything get her down and she is a truly inspirational person. Everyone loves Orla”.
Orla will be competing in the 3km Race Walk and ball throw this Friday and Saturday and she is thoroughly looking forward to the rest of the week.