Transforming lives… #WHBTG2017

Day 4, the last day of this year’s Westfield Health British Transplant Games…

Tara, Jack, Mike and James were in action today. As with every venue and every aspect of this year’s Games the spirit at the athletics venue was one of warmth and friendliness as we were all united in one goal – the celebration of the Gift of Life through sport.

Mike, a regular at the British Games, started us off in shot putt and he came away with the SILVER MEDAL. Mike is an established competitor with a great reputation in the field events.

Tara followed up and won her heat in the 50m with ease. What is wonderful about Tara is that she competes with a smile on her face. It is evident that she is really enjoying what she is doing.

Jack took on the 100m final with confidence and though pushed for the majority of the race he powered away at the end to win the GOLD MEDAL. Jack has natural talent in bucket loads and we will be watching his development in sports with a keen interest in the coming years.

Tara and Jack both competed in long jump. Having both taken gold in the 3km yesterday and both taken gold in their respective sprints earlier in the morning it was only fitting that they both took GOLD in the long jump too! Both displayed natural talent for the event and it is great that they are both interested in a diverse range of events at their age – there will be time for them to specialise in future years.

Mike’s next event was the javelin and despite a delayed start it did not upset his rhythm and he took a good BRONZE in the event. Being involved in all three throwing events it is important to ‘mind’ your body through each one so that you are able to take on each discipline at the best of your ability. Mike has plenty of experience and with Dee at his side he is in good hands.

Jack was back on the track for the 200m. Buoyed by his wins in the 100m and long jump he knew that he could give the event 100%. I think that Jack is very suited to the 200m as it brings together his natural speed from the 200m with a little of his endurance from the 3km. Good technique was evident going down the home straight as he powered away to another victory and a 4th GOLD medal for his collection!

James Nolan was keen to take on the 400m, a long time favourite of his. As always, James’ attention to detail ensured that he was suitably warmed up when his event was called. He ran well down the back straight, kept himself in contention around the top bend to put himself in a position to push the race leader, Ernesto Antonio (originally from Galway) all the way to the line. The SILVER medal he came away with was well earned from a smart approach to the race.

Keen to enjoy the buzz of the day further, James managed to get himself included in a scratch relay team and he ran a strong 2nd leg to keep his team in contention in their heat.

Our final medal tally for the Games for both our teams was:

18 GOLD                                        5 SILVER                                     5 BRONZE

And so ended our competitive involvement in the 40th British Transplant Games. Having first attended a British Games in 2007 (in Edinburgh) I think that I can say that this year’s Games have been my personal favourite. It was down to excellent organisation and a wonderfully friendly atmosphere. The organisers should be proud of what they achieved. The event itself was clearly enjoyed by the participants and it was used very effectively to get the message out about what can be achieved post transplant and the importance of the general public discussing organ donation and making a clear commitment to saying YES to making a difference.

The value of transplant and dialysis sports event is that the competition gives a focus for training throughout the year and the friendship and good-natured rivalry offers something to look forward to each time.

We are having an ‘open day’ in the ALSAA Sports Complex on Sunday August 27th and I encourage anyone interested in getting involved in what can be a life affirming and transforming experience to come and say HELLO on  the day!

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Another golden day at the British Transplant Games

Day 3 of the Westfield Health British Transplant Games and we got to experience ‘a typical Scottish summer’s day’. Suffice it to say, it rained a lot! However, our competitors turned to a reign of other sorts as we finished the day with a total of 10 GOLD medals, 1 SILVER medal and 3 BRONZE medals!

First up we had the pairing of captain Harry Ward and Ned Crowe in badminton. They have played together a number of times in competition and this was evident as their team work saw them take bronze. Deirdre Crowe, our living donor on the team was also involved in the badminton and was delighted to come away with a bronze – having competed in the triathlon and taken part in the 5km this year, I can relate to that wonderful feeling that comes with being able to take part in some aspect of the Transplant Games.

Tara Madigan opened up her 2017 BTG account with a very competitive 25m freestyle in the morning. This was Tara’s first time to compete in swimming at the Games.

From our youngest competitor we moved to our oldest as Charlie settled in for a long day of indoor bowls. The venue has a great history and the atmosphere throughout the day was very friendly.

Our two race walkers were getting ready for the 5km whilst our adult swimmers were getting ready for an afternoon of competition.

Mike, back to defend his title, yet again, and Ned, taking part in the walk at the British Games for the first time. Both gentlemen went on to take GOLD in their respective age categories.

The programme in the pool was fairly hectic with Orla Hogan, Peter Heffernan and Noel Marsden all representing our adults’ team. Races came thick and fast and so did the medals. In the end, Peter accumulated 4 GOLD medals and 1 SILVER medal whilst Noel took 2 GOLD medals and 1 Bronze medal. It was a ‘hard day at the office’ for all three swimmers but each of them was rightly proud of their achievements. With our team it is all about ‘being the best that you can be’ and they were certainly that!

Not to be outdone by the adults, our children’s team decided to get in on the medal action with the 3km on in the evening. Torrential downpours delayed the start of the race but we eventually got away on a challenging hilly course. Jack led home the junior boys and thus achieved ‘three in a row’ as he retain his title first won in 2015 in Newcastle (venue for the 2019 World Transplant Games). Tara also led the junior girls home, which is some achievement for a 10 year old and she too retained the title she first won in Liverpool last year.

An amazing haul of medals but also an amazing day of camaraderie and support. There is a real joy that comes with being part of our transplant sports programme and it is all about the people be they competitors or supporters. Everyone brings something to the team. It is great having regulars return and also wonderful to see knew people have a new experience open out before them. Getting ‘Fit For Life’ opens up so many possibilities in life and it is all Powered by the Gift of Life.

 

A busy day in North Lanarkshire – #WHBTG2017

Day two of the Westfield Health British Transplant Games started early for the Dublin Adults with Noel Marsden reporting in for Table Tennis at 8.00am. After a 30 minute warm up it was time for competition and Noel stepped into the limelight.

He showed a steady nerve as he competed and his matches were competitive but Noel was up to the pressure and he came away with the GOLD MEDAL! He was done and dusted with the medal literally ‘in the bag’ as he headed off to find a well deserved breakfast at 10.15am!

We then had Finian up in the tennis. Finian is a man who gives across and air of calm and being in control. After a warm up it was time for competition. With 5 competitors in his category and a round robin being used to determine medals there were 4 matches to play and the key was going to be passing oneself successfully. Finian won his first match comfortably whilst his second match was a real nail-biter with Finian eventually coming out on top after a tie break. His opponent in the third match had won all his previous matches comfortably so we knew that it would be tough. Finian lost that match but rallied to win his fourth match. It had been a tight group but by virtue of his tie break win, Finian came away with the SILVER MEDAL. I was delighted to be asked to present the medals for Finian’s group – a great feeling to present a medal to one of your own team! It was a joy to see the delight shown by Finian’s wife and his two girls!

Speaking of supporters, the Irish were determined to make their presence felt at each venue and this was no different at the ten pin bowling which saw Ned Crowe and Charlie Ryan competing. The programme was running a little late but this did not distract our two guys. Both played well and Charlie came away with the GOLD MEDAL!

It had been a busy day of competition but it was not over yet… After a pit-stop for dinner it was off to darts. We had Ned, Mike, Charlie and Finian competing. With 64 men registered in one open age category it was always going to be a tough ask to progress through to the medal stages. The organisers made sure that there was a great buzz about the event as the participants literally competed on stage! The matches came thick and fast and our guys came out and competed well. Charlie managed to pick up a couple of early byes and when he came into the competition he progressed through to the semi finals where he was beaten by the eventual gold medal winner. At the medal ceremony Charlie came away with a BRONZE MEDAL.

Our first medal of the day was presented at 10am whilst our last medal of the day was presented at midnight and we had supporters at every venue throughout the day!

Tomorrow is another busy day with one of our juniors, Tara Madigan, stepping forward for her first competition in the pool.

Ned is on target at Archery #WHBTG

Today was the first day of the 2017 Westfield Health British Transplant Games which is being held in North Lanarkshire in Scotland. This annual event attracts competitors from across the UK and we are extremely fortunate to be invited to join in celebrating the Gift of Life that is Organ Donation.

Having medalled in Archery at last year’s British Transplant Games Ned Crowe was back for more! Ned’s wife, Deirdre, and son, Sean, are also at this year’s Games and they were great support for Ned – Sean kept a tally of his score throughout the competition to keep us all informed.

While the rain stayed off it was quite windy which added to the challenge. Ned held his nerve and scored consistently throughout the competition. There was a wait after the last arrow was loosed until the results were announced. Ned felt he had done well but was unsure of where he had finished. When it came to the medal ceremony we were all delighted when Ned was called forward to receive the GOLD MEDAL! A fantastic result and Deirdre is now looking to measure up the back garden and Ned may be getting archery equipment for Christmas!

Whilst this was going on Finian Farrell and Noel Marsden were competing in snooker. For both of them this is their first British Games and it was also the first time we had anyone competing in snooker so it was a big unknown. The two lads competed well and enjoyed the session.

Earlier in the day I competed in the triathlon which was open to supporters as well as transplant recipients. It was the first year of the event at the British Games and was well organised. It was a great feeling to be a participant and it was a real reminder of the value of the noisy Irish supporters – I competed with a smile on my face and they kept me going when it was getting tough! I was delighted to come away with a bronze medal and lots of good memories.

The official opening ceremony was held this evening in Ravenscraig and it was quite the spectacle with hundreds of transplant recipients, old and young, parading in and showcasing the fact that organ donation for transplantation transforms lives. When the living donors and donor families paraded into the arena there was a standing ovation that was filled with respect, awe, appreciation and so many other positive emotions.

After the opening it was time to get a bite to eat and now it is time to go to bed. Noel is up in table tennis in the morning followed by Finian in tennis and Ned and Charlie in ten pin bowling. In the evening we have Charlie, Mike, Finian and Ned up in the darts.

 

 

A Tribute to the Prolific Colin White, Team Ireland Manager 

As the week at the 21st World Transplant Games in Malaga has drawn to a close, Team Ireland has returned home victorious. Transplant Team Ireland arrived in Dublin airport yesterday evening. In the arrivals’ hall, the team paid tribute to the team manager extraordinaire that is Colin White, for all of his tireless work and support for the team during the week-long Games in Malaga and of course the tireless work he did in the months leading up to the Games.
Colin is a man of many hats, as his roles not only include being a much loved Transplant Team Ireland Manager, he is also the National Projects Manager for the Irish Kidney Association as well as Secretary of the European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Federation, and to add to this during the Games he was also reappointed as the Treasurer of the World Transplant Games Federation for another four year term.
Team Captain Harry Ward has known Colin for many years and can vouch for what a committed and successful manager he is, Harry said, “Colin is such a hard working, diligent man. He makes sure we are all okay above himself. He never stops working, even on the bus between venues. I consider him to be an excellent man and a great friend.”
At the end of the week Team Doctor, Claire Kennedy reflected on the vast amount of preparation by Colin in the lead up to the Games which was followed by an incredible amount of work during the week at the Games. It was this tireless work and effort that ensured the enjoyment of the Games for the entire team.
Claire said, “He put in an incredible amount of background work in the lead up to in the Games that ensured everything ran very smoothly. He was last to bed every night and sometimes he was working into the early hours and first up in the morning. He was up at the crack of dawn every morning to make sure everyone got to each event. He is such a dedicated and kind team manager. Hopefully the team will have him for many years to come. He gave it 110%. A successful Games for him is when everyone is happy and enjoying themselves.”

In addition to all of his many roles with the Irish Kidney Association, Transplant Team and Games federation, Colin is a much loved husband, son and brother. His wife Chikoyo greeted Colin at the Airport with open arms, proud of all that he has achieved.

TRANSPLANT TEAM IRELAND RETURNS FROM WORLD TRANSPLANT GAMES WITH MEDALS HAUL14 GOLD, 7 SILVER AND 11 BRONZE

PRESS RELEASE                        2.7.17
The 27 members of Transplant Team Ireland can take pride in their performances at the 21st World Transplant Games in Malaga both on and off the competitive field as they returned home to an informal homecoming reception greeted by a large gathering of family, friends and supporters at Dublin airport today, Sunday (Terminal One Arrivals Hall, 6pm approx.). The Irish team won a total of 32 medals while at the same time demonstrating their zest for life, team spirit, sportsmanship and infectious goodwill while honouring their organ donors. The Irish team’s impressive medals haul includes 14 Gold, 7 Silver and 11 Bronze from various sporting events.
Team member, Dubliner Deirdre Faul, (a liver transplant recipient), managed to break two world records in the swimming pool on her way to winning 4 gold medals, including her 6th world title in Squash.
The main objective for Team Ireland members, who range in age from 30 to 79, when taking part in the Games is to embrace life and promote organ donation. The team includes 4 liver transplant recipients and 23 kidney transplant recipients. Four newcomers joined the Irish team for the games and Michelle Reinhardt McCabe a kidney transplant recipient from Smithboro Monaghan, won 2 Gold medals in athletics at her first ever transplant games. Galway native Sinead McGowan travelled from Australia, where she now lives, to join the team and put in outstanding performances in track and field events clinching 2 Gold and 2 Silver medals.
The 21st World Transplant Games involved 1000 competitors from 51 countries and every athlete who competed will have received a kidney, liver, heart, lung, pancreas or bone marrow transplant. This was the second largest gathering of transplant recipients for the biennial World Games event, next to when they were held in Gold Coast, Australia in 2009. The standard of competition this year was at unprecedented levels with numerous world records falling. Daily temperatures in the mid 30s added an extra challenge for athletes and supporters but Team Doctor, Claire Kennedy, ensured that everyone kept well.
In contemplating the competition they would face during the week, team members knew that it was about the training put in and delivering a performance on the day. With a number of personal bests achieved across a variety of events the team showed their mettle. Darts featured in the Games for the first time and Cork man Charlie Ryan (from Cobh) added a world title to his 5 European titles and took home with him 2 Gold medals as well as 1 Bronze which he won along with Dubliner Lenny Ryan and fellow Cork man Mike Keohane in the Darts triples event. Mike also won two Silver medals for the Discus and 5k race walk event. Wicklow man Garry Campbell won 2 Gold for Gold singles as well as in the Golf pair’s event with Dubliner Michael Dwyer. Marie O’Connor from Lahinch in Clare also won a Gold medal for Golf along with a Bronze medal for Petanque. The oldest member of the team John McAleer, (age 79) from Antrim, also won a medal in in Golf, a bronze, and the youngest member of the team Rachel Eagleton (30) from Bettystown, Meath won a Silver medal in Tennis.
The Irish Kidney Association is responsible for coordinating and managing Transplant Team Ireland’s participation at European and World Transplant Games events. Colin White, the National Projects Manager of the Irish Kidney Association is the Ireland Team Manager. In reflecting on this year’s Games Colin said, “Team members, competitors and supporters alike, should be proud of their performance throughout the week. We continued our long held record of winning medals on every day of competition at a World Transplant Games. Equally, this year’s team built on our reputation for a sense of fair play and support for all. Our athletes are truly inspirational as they show others affected by organ failure what can be achieved post-transplant. I would like to think that the public will also have been inspired by our athletes as they have shown the life transforming impact of saying YES to organ donation and making sure that family know your wishes”.
Four members from the current team (Dubliners Deirdre Faul, Peter Heffernan, Kieran Murray from Donegal and Tony Gartland, Carlow) took part in the previous World Transplant Games in Argentina in 2015 and between them, with a much smaller team, they won 13 medals including 7 Gold, 4 Silver and 2 Bronze. Two years previously at the World Transplant Games in Durban, South Africa 2013, the Irish team of 24 athletes scooped 34 medals including 12 Gold, 10 Silver and 12 bronze with 50 competing countries.
Athletes competed in their respective age categories in the following events: badminton, cycling, darts, golf, petanque, squash, swimming, table tennis, ten pin bowling, tennis, mini-marathon, and track and field.
For more information on World Transplant Games and the Irish athletes visit the Irish team blog http://www.transplantteamireland.ie<http://www.transplantteamireland.ie/> Visit the Games website http://www.wtgmalaga2017.com/en<http://www.wtgmalaga2017.com/en>
THE FULL IRISH PANEL IS AS FOLLOWS (and their individual ‘athlete profiles’ are on the team blog):-

ANTRIM: John McAleer, Newtownabbey (kidney) (oldest member of the team)

CORK: Mike Keohane, Clonakilty (liver); Charlie Ryan, Cobh (liver); Michael Kiely, Mitchelstown, on the Limerick border (kidney); Pat O’Sullivan, Mallow (kidney)

CARLOW: Tony (Patrick Anthony) Gartland, Hacketstown (liver), first liver transplant person in Ireland

CLARE: Marie O’Connor, Lahinch (kidney)

DONEGAL: Kieran Murray, Ramelton (kidney)

GALWAY: Sinead McGowan, Renmore (living in Australia)

KERRY: Con Brosnan, Killarney (kidney)

KILDARE: James Nolan, Kilcullen (kidney)

MEATH: Tony Gavigan, Navan, a native of Lanesborough, Longford (kidney transplant and father of deceased donor); Rachel Eagleton, Bettystown (kidney) – youngest member of the team

MONAGHAN: Michelle Reinhardt McCabe, Smithboro (kidney)

TIPPERARY: Orla Hogan, Nenagh (kidney); Sheila Gregan, Nenagh (kidney)

WICKLOW: Garry Campbell, Greystones (kidney)

DUBLIN: Ron Grainger, Castleknock, D.15 (kidney); Harry Ward, Team Captain, Baldoyle, D.13 (kidney); Paul Prendergast, Santry, D.9 (kidney); Anthony Byrne, Artane (kidney); Angela Sherlock, Greenhills (kidney); Peter Heffernan, Skerries (kidney); Aoife Murray, Clonsilla, (liver);

Michael Dwyer, Cabinteely (kidney); Leonard Ryan, Tallaght, D 24 (kidney); and Deirdre Faul, Dalkey (liver).

Team Manager, Colin White from Balbriggan, Dublin

Team Doctor, Claire Kennedy, from Lucan and living in Clontarf, Dublin
For organ donor cards Freetext DONOR to 50050 or visit website http://www.ika.ie/card<http://www.ika.ie/card> You can now download the IKA’s new digital donor card by visiting http://www.donor.ie<http://www.donor.ie/> on your smartphone.Your wishes to be an organ donor can also be included on the new format driving licence which is represented by Code 115.