Tralee Man Prepares For Euro Transplant And Dialysis Championships

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Stephen Byrne.

KIDNEY transplant recipient Stephen Byrne from Tralee will travel to Cagliari, Sardinia with 23 other members of Transplant Team Ireland next week to represent Ireland at the 10th European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships which will take place from 17th – 24th June.

Stephen will be joined on the team by another Kerry-based civil servant and kidney transplant recipient Emma O’Sullivan who works in Listowel and lives with her husband and young son in Glin, Co Limerick.

Stephen is married with two children, Jennifer (20) and Ethan (16). He lives in Tralee and works in Dept. of Justice in Killarney where he is very involved with the Social Club & Golf Society.

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He enjoys Formula 1 and has attended 10 Grand Prix. Stephen started running a few months after commencing dialysis in 2013 and completed his first half marathon while on dialysis.

Stephen regularly takes part in his local parkrun with Transplant Team Ireland as his registered club.

“This is my second time being part of Transplant Team Ireland, as I participated in the games in Finland in 2016.  I was only 1 year transplanted at the time and to see the camaraderie, the friendships and the energy that the games created was a very positive experience for me. Attending the games is something I’m very much looking forward to. But above all it’s a way of saying Thank You to my amazing donor and in the process, raising awareness of Organ Donation.”

He will be competing in the following sports, in the 50-59 age category:

• 10 Pin Bowling (Doubles)
• 10 Pin Bowling (Singles)
• Petanque (Doubles)
• Petanque (Singles)
• Mini Marathon 5km

Over 25 countries and 470 participants are expected to participate in the 10th European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships in June.

The current panel of Transplant Team Ireland comprises 24 athletes, 10 women and 14 men, ranging in age from 31 to 80, and includes 5 liver transplant recipients, 16 kidney transplant recipients and three dialysis patients including two women who underwent combined kidney/pancreas transplants but, while they await another kidney transplant, their pancreas transplants are still functioning.

The Irish Team has enjoyed great success at other European Championships over the past number of years.

At the previous European Championships which were held in Vantaa, Finland, in 2016, the Irish team’s final medal tally was a staggering 21 Gold, 19 Silver and 29 Bronze.  This placed Ireland’s 28 strong team in fifth position on the medals table with host country Finland, and a much larger team of 96 athletes, taking top position out of 24 competing countries.

The European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships are a celebration of life and showcase the value of sport and regular physical activity for people on dialysis and transplant recipients.

The Games are open to all kidney, liver, heart, lung, pancreas, bone marrow transplant recipients as well as dialysis patients. The multi-sport event includes athletics, badminton, cycling, darts, golf, mini marathon, petanque, swimming, table tennis, tennis, ten pin bowling, virtual triathlon and the hosts have also added archery and surf-casting. Athletes are divided into six age groups (18-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70+)

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