A Galway city native is representing Ireland on a very special world stage at the end of the month – thanks to her brother’s generosity that gave her a second shot at life.
Sinead McGowan was diagnosed with lupus in 1991, but she has never let that slow her down.
But her condition meant that, in 2009, Sinead underwent a kidney transplant in London – underlining the true meaning of family.
“My brother Seamus donated a kidney to me. I was on dialysis every day for the ten months prior to the transplant,” she recalls.
Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system starts attacking healthy tissue. Symptoms—including painful and swollen joints, fever, chest pain, hair loss, and a red rash—can range from mild to severe.
There is no cure for the disease, which lowers sufferers’ life expectancy.
But Sinead doesn’t focus on her condition – instead, she concentrated on her career as a project manager for fashion retailers in Sydney, Australia, where she has lived for the past fifteen years.
The 45-year-old from Renmore – whose parents still live in Larchfield Avenue, where she was born and raised – is now among 29 Irish citizens taking part in the World Transplant Games at the end of June in Malaga, Spain.
The Irish team will join others from over 50 countries in what will be the biggest gathering of transplant recipients this year – with nearly 1,000 competitors registered to take on events as diverse as athletics, badminton, swimming, ten pin bowling and darts.
Sinead’s successful athletic career at the Games started in Sweden in 2011.
With a few silvers and a bronze medal already under her belt, she hopes to add to her trophies this year in Malaga, where she will compete in the 5km road race, 400m freestyle swim, 30k bike race and the athletics.
The past pupil of Calasanctius College in Oranmore also loves the training for the Transplant Games, which take place every two years. “It gives me a goal to aim for to ensure I maintain my fitness at a good level,” she says.
“The Irish team are competitive but most importantly great fun. The games are a great way for everybody to honour their ‘gift of life’, meet up with the transplant community and promote organ donation along the way.”
She has travelled from Australia to two of the past three Games, in Sweden and South Africa, and plans to meet up with Transplant Team Ireland again this year in Spain.
The team ranges in age from 30 to 79 and includes five liver transplant recipients as well as 24 kidney transplant recipients—one of whom is also poignantly the father of a deceased organ donor.
Every athlete at the World Transplant Games will have already received a kidney, liver, heart, lung, pancreas or bone marrow transplant.
The World Transplant Games will run from June 25 to July 2. Transplant Team Ireland’s participation is coordinated by the Irish Kidney Association.
Boil water notice issued for Barna area
A boil water notice has been issued for the Barna area for health protection purposes
The areas affected are Barna Village, Truskey West and Truskey East, Barr Aille, Fermoyle, Ballard and along the Connemara Coast Road as far as Furbo, and on the Barna/Galway Road as far as Silverstrand.
The notice has been put in place due to issues with disinfection of the water at Tonabruckey Reservoir.
The notice affects approximately 2,300 people supplied by the Barna section of the Galway City West Public Water Supply area.
Customers in the area served by Tonabrucky Reservoir will notice increased levels of chlorine in their water supply in the coming days as we work to resolve the issue.
Vulnerable customers who have registered with Irish Water will receive direct communication on this Boil Water Notice.
Irish water, the City Council and the HSE will monitor the supply and will lift the notice when it is safe to do so.
In line with HSE Covid-19 advice and the requirement for frequent hand washing, Irish Water advises that the water remains suitable for this purpose and boiling the water is not required.
Violent incident in Tuam leaves seven hospitalised
Gardaí are investigating after an incident in Tuam yesterday left seven people injured.
A violent altercation broke out between a large group at the cemetery in Tuam at about 4pm yesterday.
Around 30 Gardaí responded to the incident at the cemetery on the Athenry Road in Tuam, which broke out following two funerals in the area.
Gardaí supported by members from the wider North Western Region and the Regional Armed Support Unit had to physically intervene between parties and disperse those present.
Five males and two females were injured during the course of the incident and were taken to University Hospital Galway with non-life threatening injuries.
A 16-year-old boy was arrested at the scene, as he tried to flee in possession of a knife.
He was taken to Tuam Garda Station and has since been released. A file is being prepared for the Juvenile Liaison Officer.
Gardaí are appealing for any witnesses to this incident or for anyone with any information to contact Tuam Garda Station .
Anger over ANC ‘snip’
ANGRY farmers hit out during last week’s Galway IFA at the Dept. of Agriculture over what they described as their ‘heavy handed tactics’ in docking BEAM penalties from ANC payments made last week.
Although Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue, has apologised for the actions taken by his Department officials, delegates who attended last Thursday’s night county IFA meeting in the Claregalway Hotel, hit out at what happened.
In some cases, according to Galway IFA Chairperson, Anne Mitchell, farmers who had already paid back the BEAM penalty also had the money deducted from their ANC (Areas of Natural Constraint) payments made last week.
Many farmers received ‘a shock in the post’ when their ANC payments were hit with the deductions of penalties from the BEAM scheme – earlier they had been warned of interest penalties if any balances weren’t repaid within 30 days.
At the core of the problem was the inclusion of a 5% stock numbers reduction in the BEAM scheme (Beef Exceptional Aid Measure) aimed at helping to compensate farmers for a drop-off in beef prices between September, 2018 and May, 2019.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
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