The 24th World Transplant Games are taking place in Perth, Australia, this year. This event celebrates the triumph of the human spirit in those who have received a second chance at life through transplantation of both solid organ and bone marrow (haematopoietic stem cell) transplantation. It also serves to shine a light on the successes available through transplantation and to reiterate the call for organ donation in all forms.
This year, the South Africa Transplant Sports Association delegation includes a few faces familiar to the Haematology community. Their presence at Perth brings us particular pride and joy, and we have decided to highlight some of our champions here.
Gawie Marx and Paul Lombard received bone marrow transplants at Constantiaberg Haematology 24 and 4 years ago, respectively. Gawie is set to compete in the Tennis and Pétanque events, while Paul, along with Winston Baatjes (living with a liver transplant) and Alta Withers (living with a kidney transplant), won silver medals in the 20km mixed team cycling event. Additionally, Paul placed 9th overall in the individual cycling challenge.
Chantel Memziwe and Melda Ruiters, who received bone marrow transplants at Haemalife in Kuilsrivier, are set to compete shortly. Chantel is lined up for the 100m sprint and relay event, while Melda is preparing for the power walk.
You can find out more about Melda’s individual journey here: