South African Transplant Sports Association (SATSA) are sending a team from South Africa to Spain next month to compete in the World Transplant Games.
The 53 transplant athletes, including five juniors, and many more supporters, will descend on Malaga. There are 20 new team members, and all have been selected following their success at this year’s National Transplant Games in Johannesburg.
They have all survived either a heart, lung, kidney, liver or bone marrow transplant.
The World Transplant Games, take place every two years, and are supported by the International Olympic Committee. It represents the largest organ donor awareness event in the world, featuring a week of 17 sporting events.
Team South Africa will join over 2 000 other transplant athletes from 65 countries .
Somerset West resident Hermann Steyn, the team manager, said: “We are thrilled to announce our team and welcome the new faces to our squad.
“It is always a little daunting competing at the World Transplant Games for the first time, but with the help of those who have been before the experience will ultimately be a rewarding one for the athletes.
“Selection on to our team was just the beginning. It is an enormous commitment of both time and money. The past five months have been busy for the athletes, keeping fit, regularly training in their sport, attending a training camp, doing publicity and trying to raise the R 30 000 a person to get there,” said Hermann.
However, the opportunity to represent their country, celebrate life and in doing so, paying tribute to their donors, is the goal.”
Hermann added: “Not only are these athletes ambassadors for our country, but they also hope to raise more awareness here in South Africa and globally, of the need for more people to sign on to the Organ Donor Foundation.”
The foundation urges people to share their wishes with family and friends.
For more information on activities at SATSA, visit www.transplantsports.org.za, and register online at the Organ Donor Foundation, at www.odf.org.za