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 sixth time as part of Transplant Team Ireland this summer. She will be competing in the following sports in the 50-59 category:
- Track & Field – 4x100m Relay
- Track & Field – Ball Throw
- Track & Field – 100m
- Petanque (Singles)
- Petanque (Doubles)
Marie describes her deceased kidney donors as her ‘ultimate Gold prize’. 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 and Germany. An avid golfer, Marie, now in her fifties, has nailed down a Gold medal in each country. 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 first position in the 100m sprint with the exception of the previous biennial European Championships in Krakow, Poland in 2014 where she came in a very respectable second place securing a Silver medal. At these Games two years ago she also secured a Gold medal in the Long Jump event in her age category as well as a bronze with teammate Bridie Nicholson from Sligo in the Petanque doubles event.
At the forthcoming Championships in Vantaa this July, Marie is hoping to once again secure her place on the podium for the 100m sprint and for golf. She will also compete in the 4 x 100m relay race, Ball throw, and Petanque singles and doubles.
Speaking about her upcoming competition, Marie said, “I am very competitive and I hope to bring home some silverware from Finland. But more importantly what the Games represent for me is that they give me and others an opportunity to say thank you to our donors. Thanks to my kidney donors I have received the ultimate Gold prize. They are my Gold through and through. They have given me a chance to do what I love to do and to be part of Transplant Team Ireland which is like my second family. Through the Games, I have made friends with people from all over the world who are all united in celebrating life and the gift of transplantation.”