Hello from Ireland!
We have an active and growing sports programme in Ireland which is open to people on dialysis and people who have received solid organ transplants.
We are open to newcomers throughout the year. All ages and abilities are welcome with a sense of humour being one of the most important criteria! Our focus is on enjoyment and celebrating life!
A look at what is going on in Ireland
We have an annual National Transplant & Dialysis Games in June. We also offer approximately 10 other opportunities for people to meet up, engage in sport and generally celebrate life - Irish people are particularly good at the last part!
We are spreading our wings in terms of involvement in events outside Ireland. We have been involved in the Summer World Transplant Games and the European Transplant & Dialysis Games for a number of years now but recently we have been looking at additional outlets and have consequently developed strong ties with Transplant Sport UK, (TSUK).
We are now involved in the annual 5 Nations Transplant Golf Tournament - we won in 2006, were pipped at the post this year and WILL win in 2008!! We have sent teams to the annual TSUK Badminton tournament for the last two years and we are looking forward to going to St. Helier's in April 2008.
In 2008, we will be getting actively involved in the TACKERS Ski Camp in Switzerland. We will also be sending a team to a 10km road race in Nice. In March we will be stepping into the unknown when we bring a team to the Winter World Transplant Games in Rovaniemi, Finland.
In 2007, working in conjunction with the main children's hospitals, we started up a programme for under 18's. This is a new voyage for us and one that looks very exciting. Our programme will come of age when we form a children's team to represent Ireland at the UK Transplant Games in Sheffield in August 2008.
It looks like a big team is forming for the 5th European Transplant & Dialysis Games which will be held in Germany in September.
In 2006 we signalled our intent to bid to host the 6th European Transplant & Dialysis Games in Dublin. We presented our bid this year and the 2010 European Games have been awarded to Dublin. This is a huge project but also a huge opportunity for us and it will be a great focus to drive forward the continuing development of our sports programme.
What is the ethos behind all of this activity? We are all about fun, friendship and celebrating life! Through the exhuberance and obvious joy for life shown by our athletes, we send out a very positive message about organ donation and transplantation. Our National President was so impressed with our team's performance at this year's World Transplant Games and the positive message it sent to donor families, prospective donors, those facing transplantation and the general populaiton that she invited everyone to the State House to congratulate them in person.
We have a beautiful balance in our programme that keeps the whole thing centred around enjoyment and camaraderie but yet we are developing into a formidable nation in terms of performances. At this year's World Games we finished 10th on the medals table. For a team of 23 athletes, we were thrilled!
Our programme runs virtually all year round and is open to newcomers at any time and at any level. I would encourage any Irish person reading this to get in touch with me to see how they can join our happy family! (Colin@ika.ie)
Remember to look in on www.transplantteamireland.com to get a sense of who we are and what we do! Send me an e-mail to say Hi no matter where you are!
Colin White: National Transplant & Dialysis Games Manager
Ireland Team Manager - World Transplant Games.