World Transplant Games 2019

Plans for next year’s World Transplant Games in Newcastle/Gateshead (August 17th-24th) are well advanced and it looks like it is going to be exceptionally well organised and that there will be a huge attendance!

The Games are on our doorstep so it is a fantastic opportunity for us to have our biggest travelling team yet! We are looking for expressions of interest at this stage – official Games Registration is due to open in early December.

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If you would like to be kept up to date about our team plans for the Games please fill in your details in this link: WTG2019 Expression of Interest. If you have any specific questions please contact me (colin@ika.ie or 01 620 5306).

Don’t forget, we are hosting the 2020 European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships in Dublin so we need to make a lot of noise at WTG2019 to make sure that we encourage as many Europeans as possible to join us from August 9th-16th.

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Time to meet up!

We will be in the ALSAA Sports Complex (www.alsaa.ie) on Sunday September 16th from 11am – 3.30pm. With the World Transplant Games in Newcastle less than a year away it is time to start planning…

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Newcomers are very welcome – an opportunity to meet some regular team members and understand the culture of our team. Come dressed for sport and if you have family or a friend you would like to bring along too they are very welcome too!

Irish transplant athletes rack up 21 medals at British Transplant Games

IMG_4137A jubilant group of twelve Irish transplant recipients, ranging in age from 9 to 70+, racked up a total of 21 medals including 9 Gold, 7 Silver and 5 Bronze at the 41st British Transplant Games which were held in Birmingham over the August Bank Holiday weekend. The successful teams include five liver, five kidney and two bone marrow transplant recipients.  The Games, which promote organ donation, attracted over one thousand transplant recipients with many family and friends also coming out to support.

Ireland was represented under the banners of the Dublin Adults and Dublin Children teams. The small Dublin Children’s team of three amassed 5 Gold medals and 2 Silver medals and surpassed a world transplant record in the process. Liver transplant recipient Tara Madigan (age 11) from Castleconnell in Limerick put in stellar performances winning three Gold medals at her second British Transplant Games in the 9-11 years age category for the 3km race and 50m race and Long jump event. She also won three Gold at the British Games last year. Tara’s Gold medal for her record breaking Long Jump of 3.29 meters was significantly further than the current World Transplant Games record in the 9-11 age record of 2.87 meters which was set by a New Zealand girl at the 2009 World Transplant Games in Gold Coast, Australia.

Also putting in great performances in the 9-11 age category and at her first ever Transplant Games was Laura McDowell, age 9, from Dalkey, Dublin who underwent a living donor liver transplant in the UK. Laura, although not a medallist, enjoyed competing in the Ball Throw, Long Jump and 50m race and proved to be a very welcome newcomer to the junior team.

Sweeping the decks also in his competitions by securing 2 Gold and 2 Silver medals was Jack O’Brien, age 15 from Navan, Meath whose mother Cassandra donated a kidney to him when he was just two years old. Jack won his two Gold medals in the 5km race and Long Jump and two Silver medals in the 100m and 200m races.

The Dublin Adults team included three newcomers including bone marrow transplant recipients Trevor Lynch, a Limerick native and Emer Cunningham from Lucan, Dublin as well as Liver transplant recipient Emmett O’Callaghan from Cork city.  Both Emmett and Trevor competed in the 40-49 year age category while Emer competed in the 30-39 years category.

In the Dublin Adults team, Trevor Lynch, a father of two from Cappamore, Limerick and now living in Buckinghamshire, won a Silver medal in the 5km as well as a Bronze medal in the 1500m race while away from track and field was Corkman Emmett O’Callaghan who won a Bronze medal in Squash.

Other Cork men proving their mettle in competition were Mike Keohane from Roscarbery in Cork (a liver transplant recipient) who won 2 Gold for the 5km race walk and discus as well as a Silver medal for Shot Putt (competing in the 40-49 year age category). The most senior member of the team – Charlie Ryan from Cobh, a liver transplant recipient – competed in the 70+ age category and won a Bronze for Ten Pin Bowling.

Securing success at the British Transplant Games proved to be the silver lining for Ned Crowe from Carrick-on-Suir in Tipperary who along with his dialysis nurse Deirdre were the first couple to undergo a spousal living donor kidney transplant in Ireland in April 2008.  On the 10th anniversary year of his successful transplant while competing in the 60-69 year age category, the father of three sons, won 3 Silver medals at the British Transplant Games for Archery, Ten Pin Bowling and the 5km Race Walk.

Proving deserving of his nickname ‘The Flying Doctor’ for his speed on track was retired urologist and kidney transplant recipient Ron Grainger from Castleknock, Dublin who competed in the 60-69 years age category continued his winning streak since his stellar performance at the European Transplant Games earlier this summer by going on to win two Gold medals for the 100m and 200m races at the British Transplant Games.

John Loftus from Clarina in Limerick, affectionately known by his teammates as ‘The Bullet’ for his sprinting speed, won a Bronze medal in the 100m race at which he pulled a hamstring causing his withdrawal from competing in other events.

James Nolan from Kilcullen, Kildare who underwent a kidney transplant over 3 decades ago was delighted to win a Bronze medal in the 400m race. The multi award winning butcher and fundraiser said, “I am absolutely chuffed to get the bronze medal in the 400m at the impressive Alexander Stadium in Birmingham. The day was made really special as Kildare won the U20 All Ireland Final in Croke Park.”

The Irish Kidney Association manages and coordinates the Dublin teams participation at the British Transplant Games and also Transplant Team Ireland’s participation at European and World Transplant Games events.

Team Ireland Homeward Bound Following Phenomenal Success at 10th European Transplant & Dialysis Championships in Cagliari, Sardinia

It has been a phenomenal week of triumph for Transplant Team Ireland at the 10th European Transplant & Dialysis Championships in Cagliari as they won a staggering 54 medals including 11 Gold, 20 silver, 23 Bronze. Twenty-three members of Team Ireland competed in intense heat and against strong competition this week on the sun drenched picturesque Italian island of Sardinia but braved through their challenges to victory. Long enduring friendships and memories were made and the positive spirit of the Irish shone through among the 25 participating nations. A sense of gratitude for life abounded with many of the athletes acknowledging their gratitude to their donors.

Team Ireland proved unstoppable at several sporting events including Mini Marathon, Swimming, Golf, Bowling, Pétanque, Darts, Track & Field and many more.

Retired urologist Ron Grainger, aka The Flying Doctor, from Castleknock, Dublin proved to be unbeatable winning Gold medals in three events – the 200m sprint, 100m sprint and the Golf Event for his gross score. Ron said, “I feel blessed to have been able to compete at this level and with this achievement. I think if my donor and how this would not have been possible without them.”

Kieran Murray from Ramelton in Donegal, also was victorious at the track and field events. On the final day of competition, Kieran won a Bronze in the 800m race, the kidney transplant recipients, fourth medal at the Games. During the course of the week-long games Kieran also won a Gold medal for Golf , a Silver in the 1500m sprint and Bronze in the 5km walk.

Kieran said, “I am delighted with my medal and indeed the medal haul I achieved throughout the week. It has without a doubt exceeded my expectations. Being here is a huge honour in itself so to bring home any medal is a success for me. A big thank you to Milford AC for supporting me and putting me through my paces in the lead up to the Games and to my family and friends for all of their support back home. Indeed, I would also like to thank my donor who is always in my thoughts. My main aim at the Games is to promote organ donation and show how it transforms and save lives.”.

Team Ireland Swimmers, Deirdre Faul (Dalkey, Dublin), Shelia Gregan and Orla Hogan Ryan (Nenagh), and Peter Heffernan (Skerries, Dublin) saw huge success in the Pool on Wednesday with each Irish athlete securing a medal. The total medals haul from the swimming event was 3 Gold, 4 Silver and 3 Bronze. Champion Swimmer Deirdre Faul (age 50), a liver transplant recipient from Dublin, kept up her stellar success record scooping three Gold and two Silver medals in her five races at the swimming event.

Deirdre said, “It was a challenging schedule and there was some stiff competition but I am very pleased with how I swam. I want to say a big thank you to Swim Ireland for all of their support this year in helping the team and myself improve times and I look forward to working with them again in preparation for the World Games next year. I also want to thank my donor and donor family for making the decision to donate.”

The entire Team Ireland Golf Team swept the decks winning 3 Gold and 2 Silver medals. Eldest Team Ireland member and eldest overall competitor at this years Championships, John Mc Aleer (from Newtownabbey, Antrim) was one of these successful Golfers, taking the Silver for his net score. A day before the retired university lecturer won a Bronze medal in Petanque event.

Games Veteran Charlie Ryan, a liver transplant recipient from Cobh, Co. Cork retained his decade-long title as European Transplant & Dialysis Champion in Darts, winning Gold. Charlie, a retired skipper, who competed in the 70+ age categorydefended and won his six in a row Champion Darts title having won Gold at every biennial European games since 2008.

Another Team Ireland athlete who also successfully defended a European title was Marie O’Connor (Lahinch, Clare). Marie remained the undefeated European champion in the female golf event securing the Gold in the Golf Gross category. Marie has won Gold in Golf at every World and European Championships since she began competing with Team Ireland with the exception of the World Games when they were held in Argentina which she didn’t attend. Marie also enjoyed success off the golf course by winning a Silver in the 100m sprint, Bronze in the Darts triples event and Bronze in the Petanque Singles event. Marie reflected that her donor is her true “gold prize”.

Team Ireland’s three members which are receiving dialysis and awaiting kidney transplants are newcomer to the team Verina Borrisova(Dublin), Linda Waters (Roscommon) and Chikoyo White (Balbriggan).

Wife to Team Ireland Manager Colin, Chikoyo White won 2 Silver and 1 Bronze medal this week in her Bowling and Pétanque events . At the Closing Ceremony and Gala Dinnner last night in Hotel Setar Chikoyo was awarded highest achievement in the Female Dialysis category, a tremendous achievement for Chikoyo who has been on Dialysis for the Past 17 years.

Chikoyo said, “I was delighted to get this award, it’s been a brilliant week here in Sardinia. I’ve truly enjoyed this week of events, and being here with the team. The Irish team are friendly, warm and always fun to be around.”

Also receiving special mention at the closing ceremony last night were Charlie Ryan and John McAleer, as they were both amongst the eldest participants proving that age is no barrier.

At this ceremony, Team Manager Colin White gave an excellent presentation on the next European Championship which will be held in Dublin in 2020.

On hand to support the team throughout the week were Team Manager Colin White, Team Captain Harry Ward, Doctor Heather Gunning and Chief Executive of the Irish Kidney Association Mark Murphy. At the Team Meeting in Hotel Setar on the penultimate day of competition Colin reflected on the team spirit he witnessed throughout the week at all events, he said, “It’s been a tremendous week. My job has been made easier as our Irish athletes have been on the ball, , ready for their events and also ready to cheer on fellow team members. Each time an Irish athlete was announced for a medal or participating in an event, the screams and whoops of the supporting Irish could be heard above everyone else.

Following the closing ceremony Colin reflected on the week saying, “I’m so proud of Team Ireland for all of their successes but most importantly I am tremendously proud of the team spirit that I have witnessed here. The bonds that have been made here will endure the years. I also would like to give special mention to Team Captain Harry Ward, he has played a blinder, he is so well recognised by everyone and a friend to all. Everyone knows Harry, including not just our team but all the other teams, team managers, local organisers etc. and look to him for support and guidance. Mark Murphy has been a huge support and always on hand to get people where they need to go and deal with any hiccups that arise. Heather, the doctor has ensured everyone remained hydrated, safe from the sun and generally well throughout the week.”

Team Captain Harry Ward, from Baldoyle, also commented on the team spirit that he witnessed amongst Team Ireland, he said, “I am very proud of how the team has gelled this year. Everyone has supported everyone else and the Team has been like one big family. It’s been a truly fantastic week.”

Jamaican Champion sprinter Travane Morrison, who is understood to be one of the fastest 100m sprinters in Ireland, attended the Championships this year with Team Ireland to observe the Irish team for his Masters Research at IT Tralee. At the end of the week, Travane said, “the European Transplant Games is no different from regular sporting events. It is governed by the same rules and the standard is very high despite the health challenges that the athletes have faced. It’s been a really fun week, the team are great people to be around, the way they appreciate life and have fun is inspirational.”

The Irish team of 10 women and 13 men range in age from 31 to 80 and includes kidney, pancreas or liver transplant recipients as well 3 dialysis patients.

A homecoming reception for Transplant Team Ireland will take place at Dublin airport’s arrivals hall (Terminal 1) when the team arrives home on a Eurowings flight from Dusseldorf today Sunday 24th June around 3.15pm.

The Irish Kidney Association is looking forward to bringing the biennial European Games back to Ireland in 2020 after it successfully hosted the 6th European Transplant & Dialysis Games in Dublin in 2010 which attracted over 500 participants and supporters from 23 countries.

The Irish Kidney Association is the charity organisation which manages Transplant Team Ireland’s participation at British, European and World Transplant Games events.

For more information on the 10th European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships and the Irish athletes visit the team blog www.transplantteamireland.wordpress.com or visit the Games website http://www.cagliarietdsc2018.it

The full Irish panel is as follows:-

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

Cork: Mike Keohane, Roscarbery, Clonakilty (liver); Patrick O’Sullivan, Mallow (kidney) Charlie Ryan, Cobh (liver);

Clare: Marie O’Connor, Lahinch (kidney)

Donegal: Kieran Murray, Ramelton (kidney)

Kerry: Stephen Byrne, Tralee (kidney);

Kildare: James Nolan, Kilcullen (kidney)

Kilkenny / Limerick: Emma O’Sullivan, Glin, Co. Limerick and a native of Kilkenny (kidney)

Meath: Rachel Eagleton, Bettystown (kidney) (youngest member of team)

Roscommon: Linda Waters, Roscommon town (dialysis, pancreas transplant)

Tipperary: Orla Hogan, Nenagh (kidney); and Sheila Gregan, Nenagh (kidney)

Westmeath: Finian Farrell, Mullingar (kidney)

Dublin: Peter Heffernan, Skerries (kidney); Ron Grainger, Castleknock, D.15 (kidney); Paul Prendergast, Santry, D.9 (kidney); Aoife Murray, Clonsilla, D.15 (liver); Harry Ward, TEAM CAPTAIN, Baldoyle, D.13 (kidney); Chikoyo White, Balbriggan (dialysis);

Leonard Ryan, Tallaght, D. 24 (kidney); Verina Borrisova, (newcomer) native of Bulgaria now living in Tallaght, D. 24 (dialysis with pancreas transplant); and Deirdre Faul, Dalkey (liver).

Team Manager: Colin White from Balbriggan, Co. Dublin

Team Doctor: Heather Gunning, Dublin 8

Transplant Team Ireland end on a high before returning home to Ireland tomorrow

On the final day of competition today at the 10th European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships in Cagliari, Transplant Team Ireland ended the week long competitions on a high winning 1 Gold, 1 Silver and 2 Bronze in Track and Field events. Kidney transplant recipient athletes Emma O’Sullivan, James Nolan, Ronald Grainger, Kieran Murray and Pat O’Sullivan and liver transplant recipient Mike Keohanecompeted at the track and field at a number of events including shot putt, ball throw, discuss, 800m sprint, 200m sprint and the 4 x 100m relay.

Kieran Murray, Donegal,  won his Bronze medal in the 800m sprint this morning, this was the fourth medal the kidney transplant recipient has won this week. In addition to his success today earlier in the week Kieran won the Gold in the Golf event, Silver in the 1500m sprint yesterday and Bronze in the 5km mini marathon. Following the 800m sprint Kieran said, “I am delighted with my medal and indeed the medal haul I achieved throughout the week, it has without a doubt exceeded my expectations. Being here is a huge honour in itself so to bring home any medal is a success for me. A big thank you to Milford AC for supporting me and putting me through my paces in the lead up to the Games and to my family and friends for all of their support back home. Indeed, I would also like to thank my donor who is always in my thoughts.”

Kieran also took part in the men’s 4x100m relay today along with fellow Team Ireland athletes James Nolan (Kildare), Pat O’Sullivan (Cork) and Ronald Grainger (Castleknock, Dublin). While the team did not secure a medal, they put in an excellent performance on the track and showed brilliant team spirit, finishing their week on a high.

Following the relay race James Nolan said, “The relay for me is one of the best events of the week. We all compete in our own individual event so being able to go out there and compete as a team is just wonderful. It’s so great to be able to do this.” James also competed in the 200m sprint at the Riccardo Santoru Athletics stadium this morning and the 400m sprint yesterday. He put in speedy times in all races he competed in and said, “I went out and enjoyed my races, I enjoyed every minute. It’s so inspirational to be here amongst these amazing people that show such resilience and determination against adversity.”

Earlier in the day the “flying doctor”, retired urologist Ron Grainger took the Gold at the 200m sprint, competing in the 60-69 age category. This was the third Gold medal Ron has won at this year’s Championship, having secured the Gold in 100m sprint yesterday and a Gross Gold at the golf event on Thursday. Ron said, “I feel blessed to have been able to compete at this level. I’m so happy with this achievement. Following my success this week I think of my donor and how this would not have been possible without them.”

Mike Keohane (Roscarberry, Cork) and Emma O’Sullivan (native of Kilkenny but living in Glin, Limerick) secured a Silver and Bronze in their events respectively. Mike competed in the Javelin and Discus events this morning and was successful in securing a silver medal in the Discus. Mike has had a very impressive week having also won 2 bronze medals yesterday in the Shot Putt and the 5km Power Walk.

Emma O’Sullivan won the Bronze in the 200m sprint event. Emma said “it was a very tough competition so I’m very happy with the bronze medal. I’ve had a great week, the weather is fabulous, the hotel is lovely and of course the sportsmanship amongst the Irish team and all competitors has been very enjoyable. A huge thank you to my family for coming out here to cheer me on, my husband John, Ewan my son, and my parents-in-law, and also to my family at home for their support.”

The Irish team of 23 athletes are all looking forward to attending the Gala Dinner tonight in Hotel Setar in Cagliari where they will celebrate a week of success, fun and friendship.

The Irish team of 10 women and 13 men ranging in age from 31 to 80 and includes 20 athletes who underwent kidney, pancreas or liver transplants as well 3 dialysis patients. The team are competing amongst competitors from 25 nations which for the first time in the Championships history includes Russia and Kazakhstan. The European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships are a celebration of life and showcase the value of sport and regular physical activity for people on dialysis and transplant recipients.

The European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships are open to all kidney, liver, heart, lung, pancreas, bone marrow transplant recipients as well as dialysis patients. The multi-sport event includes athletics, badminton, cycling, darts, golf, mini marathon, petanque, swimming, table tennis, tennis, ten pin bowling, virtual triathlon and the hosts have also added archery and surf-casting. Athletes are divided into six age groups (18-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70+). Swimming and track and field bring the sporting specialties total to 39.

A homecoming reception for Transplant Team Ireland will take place at Dublin airport’s arrivals hall (Terminal 1) when the team arrives home on a Eurowings flight from Dusseldorf on Sunday 24th June around 3.15pm

The Irish Kidney Association is looking forward to bringing the biennial European Games back to Ireland in 2020 after it successfully hosted the 6th European Transplant & Dialysis Games in Dublin in 2010 which attracted over 500 participants and supporters from 23 countries.

The Irish Kidney Association is the charity organisation which manages Transplant Team Ireland’s participation at British, European and World Transplant Games events.

For more information on the 10th European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships and the Irish athletes visit the team blog www.transplantteamireland.wordpress.com or visit the Games website http://www.cagliarietdsc2018.it