John McAleer – Co Antrim

John McAleer received a kidney transplant in 2013. He resides in Jordanstown, Co. Antrim with his wife Brigid and is the proud father of three adult children.

John is the oldest member of the team and this will be his 7th time competing with Team Ireland.  John has turned 81 and hopes there will be enough people to make up an 80+ category at the Games. Otherwise, he will be competing “with the youngsters” in the 70+ age category in the following events:

  • Pentanque Singles
  • Golf Singles

John has previously participated in the World Transplant Games in Spain 2017. He also took part in the European Transplant and Dialysis Sports Championships whilst on dialysis in Dublin 2010 and Croatia 2012, and after transplant in Poland 2014, Finland 2016 and Italy 2018. This will be his second visit to the World Transplant Games. In previous Games, he has won medals and hopes to be successful again.

John received a kidney transplant in 2013, ten years after his retirement from work at the University of Ulster. Just a year after the 2012 Games in Croatia he was playing golf on his home course in Belfast when he received a call for his life-changing kidney transplant at the City Hospital in Belfast.

He feels sure that participating in the Transplant & Dialysis Games while on dialysis motivated and helped him to sustain a level of fitness required for transplant at his age. He is ever grateful for the generosity of his donor/donor family and for the continued care he receives from the Renal Centre at Belfast City Hospital.

John originally hails from Co. Tyrone and was a former student at St Patrick’s Academy, Dugannon. His wife Brigid is also from Tyrone. They got married in Chicago in the 60s where they both worked. They have three children: two born in the USA and one in Ireland. All three children live and work in Ireland now.

John is looking forward to the Games in Newcastle Gateshead and says, “Participation is a great way to keep a routine focus on fitness and wellbeing, having a goal makes it easier to get going when it is raining out and the wind is blowing.”

“I have never been to Newcastle Gateshead and that will be a nice new experience. Spending time with the team is always a joy. There has been a lot of urban renewal in this area and it will be interesting to see.”