Our Transplant Team Ireland squad for this year is made up of a wonderfully diverse group of people ranging in age from 16 – 76 years old. Each individual has their own story as to what has seen them join our team and travel to Poland to be a part of the European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships.
For some, sport has always been in their blood and transplant & dialysis sports has offered them a route back into competition and all the motivation and excitement that comes with it. The levels of achievement that are being attained across the broad range of sports on offer is most impressive. These people bring a wealth of experience to share with others and in so doing play a part in the on-going development of our sports programme.
For others, the Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships offers an incentive to engage in competitive sports perhaps for the first time in their lives. There is a realisation that there is great strength to be drawn from the camaraderie that comes from being part of a team that can also very quickly becomes an extended family. The honour of representing your country on the international stage is not one to be underestimated.
It is about savouring your personal achievements whilst at the same time embracing the broader impact that your actions can have – showcasing the success of organ donation and transplantation whilst also offering inspiration to those who are newly transplanted or newly diagnosed with organ failure.
Jim Gavin summed up the ethos of our sports programme when he said that it is all about being the best that you can be. Wherever that takes you in a competition is secondary to the feeling that comes with knowing that you have given of your best.
For a transplant recipient, the opportunity to engage in a high profile event such as the European Championships is an opportunity to say thank you. Living an active and healthy lifestyle is a wonderful way to show appreciation for the Gift of Life. It is clear statement of intent – I am embracing life to the full and loving every minute of it!
For someone who is on dialysis, competing at the European Championships is an opportunity to play their part in their own health and well being. Being on dialysis can be challenging and isolating. An active and healthy lifestyle goes a long way in helping us get the most out of life and all the experiences it has to offer.
It is an absolute tonic to experience the passion for life which is palpable at every venue at the Championships. There is so much laughter, so much joy and so much camaraderie as well as that competitive edge that comes with people challenging themselves to be the best that they can be.
To perhaps sum up, many participants in this year’s European Championships would agree with the statement, ‘I compete because I can.’