Supplied photo Kim O’Reilly (centre) of Grande Prairie earned gold medals in the 100, 200 and 400 metre sprints in her age category at the Canadian Transplant Games last month. She is shown here with silver medalist Margaret Benson (left) of B.C. who had a double lung transplant, and bronze medalist Sheryl Mamchur of Saskatchewan who had a liver transplant.
With three gold medals for her age category in hand, it’s hard to believe that last month was Kim O’Reilly’s first time competing at the Canadian Transplant Games.
The 52-year-old from Grande Prairie took home top honours in the 100, 200 and 400 metre sprints at the games, which were held from July 16-21 in Calgary. The games, which got their start in 2000, host competitions for everything from golf and bowling to track and field events.
“Since the transplants, I’ve kept active and train hard all the time and it was in Calgary this year, so that was convenient for me to go,” O’Reilly said.
“I signed up more just to participate and be around others who’d had transplants, to cheer people on, things like that. That was really my motivation, just to be there and be involved in that.”
O’Reilly has received two organ transplants in her life, one kidney and a pancreas. At the age of five, she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and complications from that eventually led to the surgeries.
Her youngest son donated his kidney to her in 1999 and almost 10 years later, she needed a new pancreas and was put on a waiting list. Since the second transplant, her health has improved dramatically.