Saturday 16 December 2017

Four-star Peter brings home medal haul

Skerries man blows competition away in transplant games

Peter Heffernan
Peter Heffernan
Harry Ward in action at the Games

John Manning

Under the guidance of a team manager from Balbriggan athletes have returned home draped in gold, silver and bronze medals from the 40th British Transplant Games which were held in Scotland and saw a Skerries man pick up four gold medals and a silver.

The team, ranging in age from 10 to 70+, racked up an impressive tally of 28 medals including 18 Gold, five Silver and five Bronze and the youngest, Tara Madigan, secured a hat trick triple Gold and a Best athlete in her age category accolade.

The four-day event attracted close to 800 transplant recipients who participated in various sporting events.

The Dublin Adults Team included a Transplant Games legend in Skerries man, Peter Heffernan.

One more time, Peter did not disappoint as he collected no less than five medals at the event, four of them gold.

Peter's skills are displayed in the swimming pool and he won gold at the recent games in the freestyle 50m, 100m and 200m races as well as the 50m backstroke.

In the 50m breaststroke, the Skerries man came in second and claimed a silver medal to go with his impressive haul.

Peter added his latest set of medals to a World Transplant Games bronze he already secured, this year in Spain in the backstroke.

Reflection on that achievement on the world stage, earlier this year, Peter told the Fingal Independent: 'I thoroughly enjoyed that race. It's so fantastic to be able to take part and the ability to participate and do something that I love is all thanks to my donor.

'The competition was tough this year so I'm thrilled. A big crowd came down to support us from Transplant Team Ireland. They are a brilliant support.'

Team Manager, Colin White from Balbriggan said of the latest trip to Scotland for his talented team of athletes: 'The British Transplant Games was very well organised and clearly enjoyed by all participants.

'The event 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 with family and saying YES to making a difference.

'The value of transplant and dialysis sports events, such as the British Transplant Games, 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.'

The organisation is always on the look-out for new talent to join the team and to that end, Colin said: 'We are having an 'open day' in the ALSAA Sports Complex, Dublin Airport, on Sunday August 27 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.

'You can get in touch with me at'

The Irish Kidney Association is responsible for organising teams that participate in Transplant and Dialysis Sport events including a winter ski camp for children as well as the World Transplant Games (Summer and Winter), the European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships and the British Transplant Games.

At the British Games, there were also children competing and Representing the Dublin Children's Team was 10-year-old liver transplant recipient, Tara Madigan from Castleconnell, Limerick and 14-year-old kidney transplant recipient, Jack O'Brien from Navan. Tara underwent her life saving deceased donor liver transplant at King's College Hospital in London in 2012. Jack was just two-years-old when he underwent a living donor kidney transplant at Temple Street Children's hospital thanks to his donor mother Cassandra who was just 20 years old at the time.

Both Jack and Tara put in spectacular performances at the British Games in their athletics events with Jack securing four Gold medals and Tara winning three Gold medals and the accolade of Best Child overall in her age category.

Plans are already underway for Irish teams to participate at next summer's biennial European Transplant & Dialysis Championships, in Sardinia and the British Transplant Games which will be held in Birmingham.

For more information on the Irish athletes visit the Irish team blog and for organ donor cards Freetext DONOR to 50050 or visit website You can also now download a new digital donor card from the IKA by visiting on your phone.

Fingal Independent

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