An Inishowen man who competed in the recent European Transplant and Dialysis Championships in Poland has said the games highlighted the importance of carrying an organ donor card.
Well-known Clonmany man Hugo Boyce represented the country at the championships in Krakov last week, at which Team Ireland ranked in the top three in terms of success.
Hugo, who has been involved with the Clonmany Festival Committee since its inception 47 years ago, was one of 34 athletes representing Ireland at the games and one of just two from Donegal.
Hugo received a kidney transplant 26 years ago and is the longest living recipient in Co Donegal.
Speaking to the Journal after he returned home this week, he described the championships and the reception the team received in Krakov as “fantastic.”
He said: “I hadn’t been there in four years, because the games have always clashed with the Clonmany Festival. But, I was delighted to get to go this time.
“There were 450 participants from around the world.
“The majority of them had received kidney transplants but there were others who had received hearts and lungs. Most of the participants were over 50 years of age.”
He added: “We were treated so well.
“They paraded us through the Square in Krakov in the opening ceremony. The games themselves were a great success.
“They really showed how you can still survive and live your life after a transplant.
“It also shows the importance of carrying a donor card and the difference this can make to people’s lives.”
As well as having the honour of representing his county and country, Hugo also celebrated a very special occasion when he was in Poland.
He said: “It was my 65th birthday.“Fair play to the team, they brought me out for a lovely meal and we had a great time. It was good to meet people like yourself, who had a transplant and chat about things relevant to you both.”