KwaZulu-Natal News – September 2015

Blazer Ceremony

Of course, we cannot prepare completely for the World Transplant Games without having a Blazer Ceremony to induct our athletes onto the SA Team!

We held this ceremony at the Durban Bowling Club on 15 August 2015. We had a good turn-out of family and supporters for our five athletes – a party of about 20 people!

Michelle Michael welcomed everyone to the ceremony during which she emphasised the importance organ donation and being a participant in the World Transplant Games.

Richard Siedle, KZNTSA Chairman then addressed the athletes and their families and friends. He reminded everyone of the WTG two years ago held in Durban which was rated as the “best transplant games ever”. It was certainly the biggest organ donor event in the World.

Mar del Plata, Argentina, now awaits the arrival of athletes who have qualified from all over the world to participate in the 20th World Transplant Games, starting on 23 August.

Our group of 5 athletes forms part of an impressive squad of over 40 of our country’s finest transplantee athletes from all parts of SA who have qualified to represent our country, proudly wearing their C olours .

Richard said that the concept of Olympic-style games for transplantees was a wonderful idea as it encouraged those who have been given ‘A SECOND CHANCE IN LIFE’ to keep fit. What better way than training and participating in the National and WTG? But – REMEMBER the famous saying: IT’S NOT WHETHER YOU WIN OR LOSE BUT HOW YOU PLAY THE GAME. After all, you transplantees are all WINNERS anyway!

Jan de Kock was asked to present the Blazers sporting the lovely Protea badge to the athletes who qualified. He gave an inspiring talk regarding Hope and how one must not give up during trials and tribulations through ill-health or waiting for a donor! He also exhorted the athletes to go to Argentina to enjoy themselves and bring back “the round things”!

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After the Blazer Ceremony we then tucked into a delicious finger supper with a South African theme. Huge thanks to Les Hurlbatt for very generously sponsoring this meal.

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KZN Team at WTG 2015, Mar del Plata

South Africa returned from Argentina where we were placed third out of 44 countries with 89 medals (41 Gold, 24 Silver and 24 Bronze). Great Britain/Northern Ireland and Argentina were first and second. Remember we were placed third in WTG 2013 with double the number of athletes. What an achievement!

The KZN athletes contributed 3 bronzes to this medal count. Anil Balmakund, Squash – bronze, Lesley Hurlbatt, Petanque – Bronze and Derrick Pillay, Golf – bronze.

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Travelling to Mar del Plata was definitely a very long way to go there and back again to see how far it is but we all came back enriched by the experience.

Now, we look forward to the Nationals next year, followed by the WTG 2017 in Malaga, Spain. Bring on the flamenco!!!

AGM

KZNTSA held their AGM on Saturday 12th September, the attendance of which was very disappointing! Luckily we had enough members for a Quorum and we were able to proceed.

  • There are currently 57 members of the KZN branch of which 35 are Transplantee Athletes and 22 Supporters, as follows:
  • Athletes/Transplantees: 35
  • Kidney: 15
  • Kidney/Pancreas 1
  • Liver: 2
  • Heart: 7
  • Lung: 1
  • Bone Marrow: 2

Supporters: 22

As it was not a year for election of Office Bearers our Chairman remains Richard Siedle and Secretary/Treasurer Elsa Siedle. Our Vice-Chairman Cath de Beer, sadly, has resigned as she is off to Mpumalanga to start a new career. We wish her well and shall miss her from all aspects! We were unable to elect a V-C at the AGM and agreed to carry this over to the next Meeting – at which we hope to have greater representation of our Members!

Until we have more News to share, keep well, healthy and fit!