Sam Ira from the RCH Creative Studio has taken out two medals at this year’s Australian Transplant Games.
Held every two years, the Transplant Games show the success of transplantation and raise awareness of organ and tissue donation.
More than 500 people competed in the 2018 Transplant Games on the Gold Coast, in sports such as volleyball, table tennis, cycling, athletics, road race, chess, scrabble, golf, swimming, lawn bowls, Petanque, darts and ten pin bowling.
Sam, who underwent a double lung transplant in 2009, and again in 2013, competed in darts and ten pin bowling, taking out a silver medal for the individual competition and a gold medal in the doubles, with his partner Thor.
Both Sam and Thor are former RCH patients, and underwent their double lung transplants due to cystic fibrosis.
Competing in the games was an opportunity Sam never thought he would get to be involved in.
“It took me more than five years to accept my condition and sign up for my first transplant, which I was in shock about and fortunate to receive after only seven weeks,” he said.
“I underwent the second transplant four years later, when my lung function levels dropped dangerously low, and I was experiencing other health complications – it was really a devastating time for me.”
Sam said it was a great feeling to be moving on in life and sharing his story.
“I used to bowl in a league before I had any transplants and got pretty sick, and I actually want to re-join a league and get back in to it.
“This is the first time I’ve been fit and healthy enough to be involved in the games and also the first time I could travel
“I went to Tasmania first and even went hiking and then to the Transplant Games on the Gold Coat – it was a fantastic experience to try out my new lungs especially on a plane.
“It was great to talk to other families and share our stories – I never used to talk about my health or my transplant – I’ll definitely go back and I’m hoping to compete in other events.”
Sam has worked at the RCH for more than 20 years, first a volunteer and then as a video producer and editor.
He is now preparing for an overseas trip, which he postponed due to his transplants, and focusing on other competitions, including the international transplant games in London next year.