ALONG with bringing home two silver medals for Ireland at the European Transplant and Dialysis Games, Limerick’s Trevor Lynch brought home an important message – cancer is not the end and donation saves lives.
Trevor – originally from Cappamore and currently living in the UK with his wife Sue and children Aishling (16) and Kieran (12) – won two silver medals for Transplant Team Ireland at the games which were held in Oxford.
Trevor took part in the 1500m, winning his silver medal on his first day of competition before following it up on day two with a silver in the 800m.
“It was very emotional. Fantastic to be part of Team Ireland and just amazing to win medals as well,” Trevor told the Limerick Post.
“Everyone who was competing was there because someone had donated something. A lot of people who came along were families whose loved ones had donated organs.”
Trevor’s own route to athletic success oddly began with his being diagnosed with lymphoma.
“I was doing chemotherapy and it was very tough. They give you anti-nausea medication but it didn’t work for me. I found that going for a half hour jog really helped on the horrible days after chemo.”
After six months of treatment, Trevor ran a half marathon to raise funds for the hospital where he was being treated.
“I have a young family and I just said ‘cancer is not going to beat me.’ Running was a way of fighting back. There were tough times but I had to focus on my family and stay positive.”
He believes that getting fit through running helped him cope with chemo in other ways.
“I didn’t have any of the side effects like mouth ulcers and I honestly believe that was because I was fit.”
Trevor had two bone-marrow transplants and explains that donating marrow is a very important thing for a living donor to do.
“There are 25 million people on the bone-marrow donation register and there were just two matches for me. It has to be a perfect match and that’s a very difficult thing to find.
“All a donor has to do now is have some treatment to boost their own stem-cell growth and do one session of dialysis. There’s no need anymore to bore holes in hips. That’s a thing of the past.”
Trevor had two transplants, one in 2014 and another 2016.
He was celebrating two major wins, having been formally discharged from hospital treatment on top of bringing home his medals.
“It has changed me. I used to spend far too much time working late nights and weekends – you just get caught up in it and then you find life has passed by. Now I try to have a much more balanced life, spending time with my kids snd running for exercise.”
Fourteen Irish athletes participated, winning an amazing 34 medals (10 gold, 11 silver and 13 bronze) and Team Ireland came sixth in the overall medals table.
Irish athlete Marie O’Connor from Lahinch, Co Clare, was also awarded Best Female Athlete of the Games 2022.
Trevor says Team Ireland have one simple request for readers – to please consider carrying an organ donor card and start having the conversation about organ donation today.
To get an organ donor cards, freetext DONOR to 50050 or ask at a local pharmacy.