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Galway grandmother’s added bonus as she heads for World Transplant Games

A Galway grandmother off to represent Ireland at the World Transplant Games in Australia is onto a winner before she even leaves home. Because Teresa Smyth’s trip Down Under coincides with her daughter’s pregnancy – and it gives her the chance to be close at hand for the birth of her sixth grandchild.

Teresa, from Williamstown, will take part in three events in Perth – darts, table tennis and Petanque doubles in the 60 to 69 age category – and she is doing it as a tribute to the donor who has given her 22 years of a new life.

But when the Games are over, Teresa will stay on for a month with her younest daughter Rachel who has lived in Australia for some years. Rachel is due to give birth in May – so Teresa won’t return to Ireland until towards the end of June, whereas most of the rest of the team with be returning home directly after the Games.

The widowed mother of five and grandmother of five – soon to be six – received a kidney transplant in 2001, but this will be her first time to represent Ireland at the World Transplant Games.

“I am doing this in honour of my donor and their family who have given me a wonderful 22 years of good health,” she said.

Teresa was on dialysis for two years before her transplant, and she is forever grateful to her deceased kidney donor and the 22 years of successful transplantation she has enjoyed since then.

Teresa is part of the 14 strong Transplant Team Ireland all off to the World Transplant Games in Perth next month. Ranging in age from 36 right up to 75, the ten men and four women have all received organ transplants – including two liver, two bone marrow, and ten kidney.

They will be among over 1,200 participants from over 50 countries, all embracing their gift of life and honoring their donors in this celebration of life through sport.

Each of the athletes is funding their participation in the Games – including registration, flights, accommodation, and meals – through fundraising in the name of the Irish Kidney Association/Transplant Team Ireland, as well as using their own funds.

The Irish squad gathered at the ALSAA Sports Complex at Dublin Airport on Sunday, joined by family, friends and other members of the Transplant Team Ireland programme, to receive their official team kit.

They also enjoyed an inspirational talk by former Olympian triathlete Gavin Noble, the Olympic Federation of Ireland’s Chef de Mission for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games and 2023 European Games.

The Galway woman said she was simply looking forward to meeting new people, enjoying the competition and experiencing the travel – and being there to greet the latest arrival when they make their debut!

“I’m just looking forward to meeting my new grandchild and seeing all the different sports venues in Perth,” she said.

The World Transplant Games take place from April 15 to 21, following a four-year hiatus for the biennial event, as the previous Games planned for 2021 had to be cancelled due to the global pandemic.

(Photo: Transplant Team Ireland member Teresa Smyth with former Olympian triathlete Gavin Noble).

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