A team of 26 athletes who survived organ transplants or are on dialysis will represent Ireland against the best of Europe next month.
Nine women and 17 men aged from 18 to 74 years will take part in the European Transplant & Dialysis Games in Croatia.
All have had a kidney, liver or pancreas transplant or are on dialysis.
Renowned transplant surgeon Dr David Hickey – who won three All-Ireland football titles in the 1970s – paid tribute to the sports men and women.
“The goal of successful organ transplantation is not only to save lives, but also to enable the complete physical, social, mental and spiritual rehabilitation of people with organ failure,” said the Director of Transplantation at Beaumont Hospital.
“The success of this aspiration is gloriously seen in this group of heroic warriors who will represent themselves, their donors and Ireland at the Transplant Games & Dialysis Games this August.
“They are true Corinthians and more.”
The athletes will compete in badminton, tennis, cycling, darts, golf, petanque, swimming, table tennis, ten pin bowling, tennis, volleyball, mini-marathon and track and field events.
Team captain Harry Ward from Baldoyle, Dublin, has represented Ireland around the world both as a dialysis patient and, in recent years, as a transplant recipient. He had a kidney transplant in 2007.
Colin White, team manager, said, the Irish Team has a great reputation for fair play and strong competitiveness at international events.
“Our team of 26 competitors, including six newcomers, has prepared well and we are looking forward to joining our friends from across Europe in celebrating life through sport,” he added.
“The message from these Games is clear – Organ Donation Works.”
For an organ donor card Freetext the word DONOR to 50050 or visit website www.ika.ie Dr Hickey, a consultant urologist who has carried out over 1500 kidney transplants, is an avid sportsman and gave a special motivational speech to the Irish team at ALSAA sports complex, Dublin Airport.
More than 300 athletes from 28 countries throughout Europe will take part in the European Transplant & Dialysis Games, to be held in Zagreb, Croatia, from August 18 to 25.