Transplant team flies out to Finland to show how organ donation works

By Brendan Grehan

THIS Sunday, Lenny Ryan from Tymonville, will be one of 29 athletes flying out to Vantaa, Finland, to take part in the ninth European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships.

There will be further local representation with Patrick Barry from Tallaght and team doctor Claire Kennedy from Lucan also travelling with Transplant Team Ireland.

Alan Brogan with Mike Dwyer Deirdre Faul and Lenny Ryan

Lenny (36), will be competing at this year’s games in the age 30-39 category in the 5km Power walk, the 10-pin bowling doubles, the 10-pin bowling singles, the Petanque doubles and the Petanque singles.

Lenny told The Echo: “This will be my sixth time competing in the games. The last one I competed in was in Croatia in 2013. I’m going to give it my best shot.”

Lenny says that his best event is probably petanque, but he will give every event 100 per cent. He had a second kidney transplant in 2014. Lenny says that he has been looking forward to the games for some time.

He said: “I have been looking forward to this. To train, I do a lot of walking in Tymon Park with my German shepherd, Hans. We will be gone for a week from Sunday to Sunday.” The team have been training at ALSAA in Santry where Lenny hones his 10-pin bowling skills.

Also travelling will be team doctor Claire Kennedy. It will be Claire’s first games. She is currently a Transplant Fellow in the Transplant Department in Beaumont Hospital. Dr Kennedy told The Echo: “These are my first games. I’m really looking forward to it. It is great to be involved and it obviously links in with my work in Beaumont”.

Patrick Barry Transplant Games July 2016
(Above: Patrick Barry from Tallaght pictured on far right)

Patrick Barry from Cushlawn is another local travelling to Finland, and he will be competing in the 100m, 400, 1500m races, along with playing in the tennis event.

Transplant Team Ireland comprises 23 men and 6 women ranging in age from 18 to 78, includes 22 transplant recipients (4 Liver, 17 Kidney, 1 combined Kidney/Pancreas) as well as 7 people who are receiving dialysis treatment.

Team Manager, Colin White, told The Echo: “The opportunity to take part in events such as the European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships offers people on dialysis and transplant recipients an incentive to keep active and healthy in preparation for competition, thus impacting positively on their lifestyle choices.

“The ‘Yes We Can’ attitude of team members offers encouragement for others on a similar health journey and comfort to donor families who see the impact that the Gift of Life can have.

“We have a great mix of experience and newcomers on our team this year and I am looking forward to all the ‘little moments’ that each will experience throughout the week. Our athletes’ personal stories will inspire others within their local communities as well as on a national level and they can promote a strong message – Organ Donation Works!”

The Irish team includes six newcomers and has the most dialysis athletes ever to travel abroad to represent their country. Good luck to them all.

For more information on the European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships and the Irish athletes visit the Irish team blog www.transplantteamireland.wordpress.com or visit the Games website www.vantaa2016.fi

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