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everyone loves the Irish and they
        look on with envy at the strong
        team spirit evident throughout
        the week.
           Being a supporter, be it at the
        World, European or UK
        Championships is a unique
        experience – both humbling and
        inspiring. All the athletes have
        faced enormous personal
        challenges, most had undergone
        transplant operations and others
        have to undergo dialysis for
        several hours. Yet this never
        diminishes the enthusiasm and
        excitement as they participate in
        their chosen sports – I can only
        look on with great admiration.
        They are all winners already.
           Whilst all the athletes want to
        do well, it is always the donor
        that is the centre of their
        thoughts. It would be so
        heartening for donor families to
        experience the deeply felt
        emotional tug that each has to
        their donor and the donor’s
        family and this is openly spoken
        about during the week. It is clear
        that Organ Donation works – you
        can see it in the faces of the
        athletes as they proudly carry
        their country’s flag in the
        opening ceremony, as they
        compete in their sports, as they
        step on the podium to receive
        their medal.
           This ‘Yes We Can’ attitude of
        Transplant Team Ireland must
        surely give encouragement for
        others on a similar health
        journey, it must surely comfort all
        donor families who get to see
        the impact that the ‘Gift of Life’
        can have and it definitely
        changes lives. I would encourage
        everyone to carry a donor card
        and have that conversation with
        a loved one     – organ donation
        is vital as over 600 people await
        a transplant in Ireland. Organ
        Donation works  –  it was vividly
        evident in Helsinki where the
        athletes and teams from all over
        Europe showed us the awesome
        power that transplant sport has
        to change lives –  Hel-Yeah!
                                             IKA S UPPORT W INTER 2016                                        25
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