Dialogue speaks to a truly inspirational colleague, Vic Horan from our Business School, as she prepares to represent Great Britain and Northern Ireland in the World Transplant Games in Perth this April.
In April this year, around 2,500 athletes from 60 nations will gather in Perth, Australia for the 24th World Transplant Games. First held in 1978 in Portsmouth, UK, the Games has grown to become the world’s largest awareness event for the gift of life through organ transplants. It is also a chance for reflection for transplant recipients, their families and supporters, donor families and living donors.
For Vic Horan, a Faculty Co-ordinator within the University Business School, it will be the fourth time she has represented Great Britain and Northern Ireland in the Games in her chosen sports of Volleyball and Basketball.
Until she was 13, there was no suggestion of the kidney problems that were about to change Vic’s life.
In 1993, she had her first kidney transplant gifted by her mum. In the two and a half years that Vic had her mum’s kidney, she competed in two British Transplant Games and one World Transplant Games and become a double British Champion and a World Champion in Volleyball.
Second and third transplants followed via the NHS Transplant list. “What I do know is my 1998 donor was named David and 2008 donor was called Graham”, said Vic.
Vic remained in stable health following her 2008 transplant. She married in 2009 and travelled the world. However, in 2015 Vic was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, a blood cancer brought on by her anti-rejection medicine. Ten rounds of chemotherapy followed.
It turns out I didn’t need to worry about how my kidney would cope. It handled chemo like a champion.
“However, I was devastated when I had to withdraw from the World Transplant Games in Argentina. The one thing I have learned about myself is I’m as strong as I am weak, and don’t give in easily!” said Vic.
By 2016, Vic was in remission. She celebrated by leading the GB&NI Team out during the opening ceremony of the 2017 World Transplant Games in Malaga. She describes it as “one of my proudest moments and an honour I will never forget”. Vic represented Great Britain and Northern Ireland once again in 2019, this time on home turf in Newcastle and Gateshead.
The 2023 World Transplant Games is the first since 2019 due to the pandemic. As participation is self-funded, Vic is currently raising the funds to participate in Perth at an estimated cost of around £5,500 for travel and expenses. Her fundraising total currently stands at around £1,800. Colleagues can find out more about Vic’s fundraising efforts here.
As always, I give thanks to Graham and his family as I head off to Perth. David and his family are always in my heart too. Every donor family out there is amazing. There are not enough words to say how thankful I truly am for their gift.
Dialogue wishes Vic the best of luck at the Games and hopes her 2023 is filled with health and happiness.
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