'Transplant' team heads for Euro showdown!
SHOWCASING the importance of organ donation, Fingal athletes will be among a 34-strong team represening Ireland in the European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships next month.
Skerries man Peter Heffernan and Chikoyo White from Balbriggan, along with team manager Colin White, also from Balbriggan, will be heading to Krakow, Poland from August 16 to 23.
Members of Transplant Team Ireland travelled from the four corners of Ireland to a photocall and motivational talk by Dublin Senior Football Manager Jim Gavin which was held at ALSAA Sports Complex, Dublin airport.
The Irish Team, which comprises 25 men and 9 women ranging in age from 16 to 76, includes 29 transplant recipients, as well as five people who are receiving dialysis treatment.
In a previous role with the Air Corps, Dublin Senior Football Manager, Jim Gavin flew many missions involving the retrieval of organs and the movement of patients for transplant operations.
Delivering a motivational talk to the team Mr. Gavin said; 'I feel humbled and privileged to be in the presence of such a large group of inspirational people.
'You have all experienced huge health challenges with uncertain outcomes. However, your resilience and determination to embrace life through sport is commendable and seeing you represent your country surely gives comfort to donor families as well as promoting to the public the indisputable importance and success of organ donation.
'Your participation in sport as a team shows solidarity in your conviction that organ donation works and that sport benefits mind and body and unites people."
At the team gathering, Team Manager, Colin White, said: 'This year sees our largest ever travelling team for a European Championships including ten newcomers.
'I have great admiration for the motivation shown by all of our team members in preparation for our trip to Poland. Not only have they been training hard for their respective competitions, they also pay the majority of the costs involved. As well as personal goals, our athletes are very much driven by a passion to showcase the importance and success of organ donation and transplantation.'
The Games will involve close to 500 participants from 30 countries throughout Europe. Every athlete at the Games will either have already received a kidney, liver, heart, lung, pancreas or bone marrow transplant or are on dialysis.
For an organ donor card Freetext the word DONOR to 50050 or visit website www.ika.ie
It is also possible to download an organ donor card on smartphones by searching for 'Donor ECard' at the iphone store or android market place. Your wishes to be an organ donor can also be included on the new format driving licence which is represented by Code 115.