Three Laois athletes are among the 26 strong Irish Team who will represent Ireland at the European Transplant & Dialysis Games which will take place in Zagreb, Croatia from August 18-25.
The trio are Alison Honner from Portlaoise, Robbie Lyons from The Swan and Niall McAuliffe from Abbeyleix.
They attended a motivational talk last week given by Transplant surgeon and Dublin football selector, David Hickey, at ALSAA sports complex, Dublin airport.
Dr Hickey, paid tribute to 26 brave athletes who will represent Ireland at Games. His attentive audience included some grateful athletes whose life saving transplant operations were successfully performed by him.
The European Transplant & Dialysis Games will be held in Zagreb will involve more than 300 athletes from 28 countries throughout Europe. Every athlete at the Games will either have already received a kidney, liver, heart, lung, pancreas or bone marrow transplant or be on dialysis.
The Irish Team which comprises 17 men and 9 women ranging in age from 18 to 74 includes kidney, liver and pancreas transplant recipients as well as people on dialysis.
In his inspirational speech to the team, Dr. Hickey said, “the goal of successful organ transplantation is not only to save lives, but also to enable the complete physical, social, mental and spiritual rehabilitation of people with organ failure. The success of this aspiration is gloriously seen in this group of heroic warriors who will represent themselves, their donors and Ireland at the Transplant Games & Dialysis Games this August. They are true Corinthians and more”.
Dr Hickey is Director of Transplantation at Beaumont Hospital and a consultant urologist and has carried out over 1500 kidney transplants to date. He won a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Irish Healthcare Awards 2011. He is a passionate sportsman and following his glorious All Ireland football success in the 1970’s and securing two All Stars, he continued his involvement and is now a selector on the current all Ireland title holders, the Dublin Senior Football team.
Speaking about the forthcoming European Games, Mr Colin White, Team Manager said, “I am excited about this year’s Games in Zagreb. The Irish Team has a great reputation for fair play and strong competitiveness at international events. Our team of 26 competitors, including 6 newcomers, has prepared well and we are looking forward to joining our friends from across Europe in celebrating life through sport. The message from these Games is clear – Organ Donation Works. I encourage the public to Think About It, Talk About It and make a commitment to Organ Donation.”
Team Captain Harry Ward from Baldoyle, Dublin has represented Ireland at numerous international Games events both as a dialysis patient and in more recent years as a transplant recipient thanks to his kidney transplant which he received in 2007.
Athletes will compete in badminton, tennis, cycling, darts, golf, petanque, swimming, table tennis, ten pin bowling, tennis, volleyball, mini-marathon and track and field events.
For an organ donor card Freetext the word DONOR to 50050 or visit website www.ika.ie It is now possible to download an organ donor card on smartphones by searching for ‘Donor ECard’ at the iphone store or android market place.