Decan with his granddfather Paul on the slopes at Banff. Photo: Cristin O'Sullivan
BY SHARON O'SULLIVAN FOR SOUTHGREY.CA — 10-year-old Flesherton resident, Declan Budgell, accompanied by his grandfather, Paul O’Sullivan, had the privilege of participating in the 11th Winter World Transplant Games (WWTG) in Banff, Alberta, from February 24-28. This is only the second time that the winter games have been held outside of Europe and the first time it has been hosted by Canada. With more than 100 recipients and donors from 17 countries, athletes ranging from ages 6 to almost 80, competed.
Declan received one-third of his mother, Cristin O’Sullivan's, liver at the age of three and he has had the opportunity to participate in the WWTG in Switzerland two years ago and the Summer World Transplant Games in Newcastle, England, this past summer.
Five children from four countries participated in the Nicolas Green Cup camp. They received skiing or snowboarding lessons every morning at Mt. Norquay followed by the afternoon activities of horse sled riding, snow tubing, rock climbing, & dodging Elk on the downtown Banff streets. Paul and Declan also enjoyed swimming, gondola ride, hot springs bath in Banff and a visit to the town of Drumheller to visit the Badlands Dinosaur Museum… ask Declan about the 'Bad Ass Dinosaur.'
Apparently many years ago, before the Humboldt tragic accident, the family of a junior hockey player donated his organs. Years later, his mother received a heart thanks to a donor. During the closing ceremonies it was noted that a lady recipient has a kidney that is now 120 years old… how awesome is that?
Paul was impressed by the recipients and donors as to how passionate and competitive they are about their ability to participate in these activities and life in general… they have had a second lease on life.
One of our own Ontario kidney recipients apparently finally beat a Norwegian athlete that he failed to do so two years ago in Switzerland…he must have trained extensively to achieve this and he thoroughly enjoyed this comradery and competiveness of the games.
The Banff games were covered by CBC.ca Calgary and more information can be found under the article “Incredibly Inspirational…”.
Apparently less than one-quarter of us Canadians have signed our cards, but 90% of us are in favour of being a donor – so why wait? A family member or a friend may need a transplant and it is very rewarding to see one survive and have a full life thanks to a donor.
Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus, the medals were still in China and some of the athletes had brought their previously-won medals and graciously passed them around for the podium pictures.
Grandpa will now be left behind on the hill with Declan’s improved snowboarding skills.
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