“It’s nice to represent someone who basically saved my life”

By Stephen Leonard

TALLAGHT’S Lenny Ryan is gearing up to travel out to Newcastle with Transplant Team Ireland for the 2019 World Transplant Games which run from August 17-24.

Ryan, who has had two kidney transplants and received his most recent one in 2014, will be competing in the 30-39 years age category in Darts, Petanque and Tenpin Bowling.

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World Transplant Games Dublin Transplant Team Ireland members (left) and Tallaght’s Lenny Ryan (right), who will be competing in Darts, Petanque and Tenpin Bowling.

With the exception of the 2014 European Games in Poland and the World Games in 2015, he has attended all the Transplant Games over the past ten years, his first one being in Australia in 2009.

He has made the podium in all three of his disciplines, picking up his first Tenpin Bowling medal when he finished third at last year’s European Games in Italy.

He won two bronze medals for Petanque and Darts at the previous World Games in Malaga in 2017.

While the Tymonville man is looking forward to be back competing on the global stage, he never loses sight of the primary goal of the Games and his involvement.

“The whole purpose of these Games is to promote organ donation and to do something for our donors who were so good to carry a donor card” Ryan told The Echo.

“It’s nice to represent someone who basically saved my life” he stressed.

Having attended World Games in as far afield as Australia, Sweden and Spain, Ryan relishes the opportunity to promote the importance of organ donation and the comradery of the Ireland squad at all the games he competes in.

“It’s like a great big family” said Ryan. “Everyone looks out for each other.

“We even support athletes from other countries, because we’re all in the same boat at the end of the day” he pointed out.

Ryan is one of 38 members of Transplant Team Ireland who will be travelling to the UK later this month.

Ranging in age from 16 to 81, the team of 29 men and eight women, have all undergone organ trans-plants including one heart, one lung, four liver, one bone marrow and 31 kidney.

The largest ever Irish Transplant Team travelling abroad, they will be among 2000 participants from more than 60 countries taking part in the global event.

The Irish Kidney Association is responsible for Ireland’s involvement in the Games and the National Projects Manager Colin White said, “I am excited about the diverse nature of this year's squad who will represent Ireland at the World Transplant Games 2019.

“We cover a wide range of sports and have a variety of levels of experience too.

“Each competitor is an ambassador in their own right and collectively the team sends out a wonderfully uplifting message about how life can be post-transplant.”

Dublin will, next year, play host to the European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships, 10 years after having first done so.

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