European Heart and Lung Transplant Games. June 2008.

The French Heart and Lung Transplant Federation, under the chairmanship of Jean-Claude Boulmer, hosted the 12th European Heart and Lung Transplant games which took place in the beautiful and historic spa town of Vichy, in the Auvergne region of France, from June 21st to June 25th. In glorious sunshine, and led by a local brass band, the opening parade of competitors and supporters for Organ Donation through Vichy, from the Town Hall to the Palais de Congress, caused great excitement and helped the LOC raise Donor awareness to new levels. In his opening address, the President on the European Heart and Lung Transplant Federation, Terry Mangan, urged all competitors and supporters to continue working with their National Associations to raise donor awareness, and he reminded them of the 3,500 European citizens who die each year waiting on a life saving organ transplant. In congratulating the LOC for organising a special church service to honour organ donors and their families, he also said that it was his belief that organ donors were the true unsung heroes of society. The games were blessed with fine weather throughout and the 600 competitors and supporters thoroughly enjoyed both the sporting and social events. The hospitality provided by the LOC was simply first class and set new standards in planning and organisation. Many of the sporting events, Tennis, Petanque, Table Tennis, Golf, and the final day’s Athletics program were held in the municipal Omnisports Centre, a magnificent park flanked by the beautiful Allier River, a truly peaceful and sylvan setting. There were many notable sporting achievements and congratulations go to all competitors who participated and honoured the memory of their donors. Among the sporting highlights was a fifteen year old boy from the UK who was transplanted while a baby of five months with a new heart, he won 6 gold swimming medals. What a story, what bravery, and what an incredible endorsement for all transplant programs. We hope the lives of his and all donor families are blessed and enriched for their goodness. Another inspiring story was a French competitor in the Old Boys category, who celebrated his 29th year post heart transplant, having been re-transplanted in 2004 with a second donor heart. His original transplanted heart gave him 25 years, years with family friends and years of contributing again to society. This competitor won many medals in a range of events. “A truly inspiring example to all organ transplant recipients”. The European Heart and Lung Transplant Federation is proud to continue the tradition, started in 1989, of promoting these games enabling Heart and Lung transplant recipients from across Europe to engage in sporting competition and importantly to meet in friendship and share experiences. The winners of the games special trophies were, Best male athlete of the games, John Barnes, United Kingdom. Best female athlete of the games Tuija Helander, Finland. Best Male Lung transplanted athlete, Teijo Hietanen, Finland. Best female Lung transplanted athlete, Tuija Helander, Finland. Geoffrey Finnigan Perpetual Trophy, awarded to the best competitor in racquet events, Adrian Woodcock, UK The Jean Marc Charlot Trophy, awarded in the Volleyball event, was won by Finland. Please visit http://jeuxcoeurpoumsvichy.site.voila.fr for a full schedule of results in all competitions. The European Heart and Lung Transplant Federation invite all Heart and Lung transplant recipients to gather again in Vaxjo, Sweden, in 2010, to participate in the 13th European Heart and Lung Transplant Games. Contacts can be found on our website, http://www.ehltf.info

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