An Athlone man who works in the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine will participate in the British Transplant Games in Newport, Wales, next week, ahead of the World Transplant Games which will take place in Newcastle, Gateshead, in the UK next month.

Noel Marsden who works in the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) section in Portlaoise, received a kidney transplant in 2017.

Noel will be competing at this year’s World Transplant Games in the 30-39 years age category in the following events:

  • Pétanque doubles, partnering with Jerome Lyness;
  • Swimming: 100m freestyle;
  • Swimming: backstroke 50m;
  • Swimming: breaststroke 100m;
  • Badminton: doubles, partnering with Tommy Marrett.

Noel has previously participated in the European Transplant and Dialysis Sports Championships in Finland in 2016 where he got a medal for swimming, and the British Games in 2017, while still on dialysis. This will be his first World Transplant Games.

I found the championships in Finland inspirational. To hear people’s stories and see them healthy and happy while I was still on dialysis, was inspirational. It was great for me to see what I would be able to do.

“Before my transplant, I could barely walk and I couldn’t sleep properly. I had no energy and was on dialysis three nights a week. Now I use that time for swimming which gets me meeting new people. I have more quality time to spend with family and friends.

Consider organ donation

“I’m very grateful to my deceased donor and their family and all donors and would ask people to consider organ donation and letting their loved ones know of their wishes. I probably wouldn’t be alive now only for my donor.”

The proud dad of seven-year-old Ava enjoys most sports especially swimming, rugby and soccer, and is a big Connaught and Aston Villa fan.

“I am excited to be attending my first games since my transplant, and hoping to do my kidney donor proud.

I’m motivated to prove organ donation works by beating my own swimming PBs (personal bests) and to encourage more people to join Transplant Team Ireland in Dublin next year for the European games.

A total of 38 people are on the Irish transplant team. Ranging in age from 16 to 81, the team of 29 men and nine women have all undergone organ transplants including one heart; one lung; four liver; one bone marrow; and 31 kidney.