A remarkable Cahir father’s teenage struggle has transcended him onto the world stage.
Vincent Bradshaw will represent Ireland at the World Transplant Games (June 25-July 2) in Málaga later this month.
He will be competing in the 40-49 years age category in the golf singles and team events, along with the 5k road race.
42-year-old Vincent underwent a liver transplant in 2006, a procedure that changed his life for the better.
Vincent was devastatingly diagnosed with chronic active hepatitis when he was in Cashel Community School at the age of 13, and spent many years struggling to get through daily life due to its complications.
“Having a liver transplant has given me a new lease of life after years of always being tired and not being able to do a full week’s work,” Vincent, originally from Knockavilla but living in Cahir with 12 years, tells The Nationalist.
The father of Emma (8) is no stranger to the big occasion, having won gold with the Irish golfers at the European Transplant and Dialysis Sports Championships 2014 in Poland.
Married to Lorraine, Vincent has been preparing for this summer’s world showdown with Cahir Meet and Train, and at local golf club Cahir Park.
Vincent, who works with The Phone Stores (Vodafone) for the last 20 years, also says the birth of his daughter Emma in the years after the transplant has further boosted his new-found bliss.
He is thrilled to be accompanied on this year’s Spanish adventure by Nenagh transplant athletes Orla Hogan and Sheila Gregan.
The 29 Irish athletes, including Orla Hogan and Sheila Gregan, were given a motivational talk by Kilkenny All Star hurler Michael Fennelly recently.
Orla, who received a kidney from her little brother, is competing in the 30-39 category in track and field (3km race walk), swimming (50m breaststroke and 50m freestyle), 5k road race, and bowling singles (women).
Transplant games veteran Orla previously competed at the World Games in South Africa 2013, Sweden 2011 and Australia 2009, along with European Games in Ireland 2010, Hungary 2006 and Slovenia 2004.
Orla enjoyed great success at the European Transplant and Dialysis Sports Championships in Finland last summer, winning silver medals in the 50m freestyle and 50m breaststroke swimming events, along with a bronze medal in the ball throw contest.
Orla, joined by fellow Carrick-on-Suir teammate Ned Crowe, each received an Annerville Special Achievement Award for 2016 in light of their success.
Meanwhile, Sheila will be competing in the 40-49 category in the 5k road race, 30k cycling road race, and swimming (50m and 400m freestyle and 50m breaststroke) events.
Kidney transplant recipient Sheila is also a familiar face to transplant games, having competed in events including Dublin 2010, Sweden 2011 and Croatia 2012.
“Being part of the Irish team is great way to make friends, and the encouragement from athletes and supporters alike is phenomenal. It’s fantastic to have other Tipperary athletes competing at this year’s event. Friendships that will last for life,” Vincent adds.
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