Kidney transplant recipient Marie O’Connor from Lahinch, Co Clare is hoping to add to her impressive haul of medals when she represents Ireland for the eight time as part of Transplant Team Ireland this summer. She will be competing in the following sports in the 50-59 category:
- Darts Triples with teammates Harry Ward and Paul Prendergast
- Petanque Singles
- Petanque Doubles with teammate Linda Waters
- Track and Field 100m race
- Track and Field 4 x 100 m relay
Marie describes her deceased kidney donors as her ‘ultimate Gold prizes’. She underwent her first kidney transplant in 1996 and two years later received her second transplant. Prior to her transplants when in kidney failure, she underwent hospital haemodialysis treatment for over three and a half years in Merlin Park Hospital in Galway.
Marie has enjoyed great success at previous international transplant sports events including European and World Games staged in Slovenia, Poland, Canada, Bangkok, Finland, Germany and most recently Malaga. She was unable to travel to Argentina in 2015 for the World Transplant Games. An avid golfer, Marie, now in her fifties, has nailed down a Gold medal in each country for golf. She has also performed remarkably well in track and field particularly in the 100m and 200m sprint events. In all the countries she has competed in she has always being placed in mostly first place securing Golds for the 100m sprint except for the biennial European Championships in Krakow, Poland in 2014 and the European Games in Vantaa, Finland in 2016 where she came in a very respectable second place at both securing Silver medals.
At the previous biennial European Games which were held in Vantaa Finland in 2016, Marie was one of the top medallists on the Irish team after putting in fantastic performances in all her events and she took home with her a staggering 3 Gold and 2 Silver medals. Afterwards she spoke about her success and said it was “a lovely way to wind down the Games. My number 1 Gold is my kidney donors, and I am deeply grateful to them and my supporters at home.”