Nenagh transplant athletes Orla Hogan and Sheila Gregan got the perfect start to this year’s European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships in Poland when they both picked up medals in the mini-marathon.
The 5k event in Krakow this Sunday saw Orla take a bronze medal for her efforts in her age category, while her teammate Sheila, a triathlete, won a bronze medal in another age category.
“I am ecstatic to have got the bronze. The competition was stiff but I am delighted with the outcome,” said Sheila.
The team, which ranges in age from 16 to 76, have all faced huge personal health battles with uncertain outcomes and are now embracing life through sport as well as honouring their donors.
Competing among over 500 participants from 24 European countries, the Irish team of 25 men and nine women will proudly represent their country at the European Championships and showcase the importance of organ donation and transplantation. The Irish team comprises 28 transplant recipients (including five liver, 21 kidney, one combined kidney / pancreas and one bone marrow) as well as five people who are undergoing dialysis treatment.
Meanwhile, the team has received an abundance of goodwill messages from leading sporting personalities including European Ryder Cup Captain Paul McGinley, multiple Irish champion jockey Ruby Walsh, and Dublin and Tyrone Senior Football Team Managers Jim Gavin and Mickey Harte. Also offering words of encouragement to the team were Sena David Norris, who recently underwent a liver transplant, and the Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar.
The championships are run every four years and will finish on August 23.