Finian Farrell and Noel Marsden pictured with former footballer Alan Brogan.

Local man to represent Ireland at European Transplant Games

An Athlone man will represent Ireland at the European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships in Finland in July.

Noel Marsden, who is currently on dialysis, from Ballymahon Road, Athlone is one of three Westmeath representatives travelling to the championships in Vantaa, which run from July 10 to 17 next, joining Mullingar born duo Finian Farrell and John Connell, who currently lives in London.

Showcasing the importance of organ donation, 29 athletes in all will represent Ireland at the 9th European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships. Members of Transplant Team Ireland recently travelled from the four corners of Ireland to a photocall and motivational talk by the recently retired Dublin Footballer and All Star Alan Brogan, which was held at the ALSAA Sports Complex, Dublin airport.

Transplant Team Ireland, which comprises 23 men and 6 women ranging in age from 18 to 78, includes 22 transplant recipients (4 liver, 17 kidney, 1 combined kidney/pancreas) as well as seven people who are receiving dialysis treatment. Following his motivational talk in which he shared his insights into the Dublin team’s winning ways, Alan Brogan took time to speak to and be photographed with each team member.

“It was a pleasure to spend some time with these great athletes who will represent Ireland in the European Transplant & Dialysis Championships. They are amazing ambassadors for not only their families and friends but for organ donorship in general. I could sense the strong bond that exists throughout the group and even though every athlete is a winner at the games I’m confident that the Irish athletes have trained and prepared to their personal maximum to ensure they meet their own goals in Finland in July,” the former footballer said at the event.

“The opportunity to take part in events such as the European Transplant & Dialysis Sports Championships offers people on dialysis and transplant recipients an incentive to keep active and healthy in preparation for competition thus impacting positively on their lifestyle choices throughout the year,” according to team manager, Colin White.

“The 'Yes We Can’ attitude of our team members offers encouragement for others on a similar health journey and comfort to donor families who get to see the impact that the gift of life can have.

Our athletes’ personal stories will inspire others within their local communities as well as on a national level and with the support of the media they can promote a strong message – Organ Donation Works,” he stressed ahead of the games which attract 500 participants from 25 countries throughout Europe.

The Irish team includes six newcomers and the most dialysis athletes ever to travel abroad to represent their country.

Athletes will compete in their respective age categories in the following events: badminton, tennis, cycling, darts, golf, petanque, swimming, table tennis, ten pin bowling, tennis, mini-marathon, and track and field.