Heart transplant patients are game for the Games

Seven men and women standing in a garden. Five of the men and women wear matching uniforms.
Heart transplant patients and Australian Transplant Games athletes David Drewett, Carey Smith and Gordon Pratt.
September 27, 2018

Fiona Stanley Hospital (FSH) heart transplant patients with a new lease on life are heading to the Gold Coast to compete in the Australian Transplant Games.

All five patients received their new hearts in the past three years at FSH and have used these games as a goal to work towards in their recovery.

This will be the second appearance at the Transplant Games for Carey Smith who made his debut only 11 months after his heart transplant.

“Keeping fit is a very large component of recovery from a transplant, as a transplant is not a cure, it’s an ongoing part of our life,” Carey said.

“If you had to ask any one of these patients what they’d be doing three years ago, most of us were lucky to walk 10 metres, let alone complete at these games.

“At the last games I actually did a triathlon, which was quite amazing. While I didn’t expect to do well, just finishing would have been an achievement, I actually won Bronze.”

This year Carey is competing in swimming, track and field, bocce and a five kilometre fun run.

“The main point of these games is that it gives us something to aim for, it gets us motivated, exercising again and active,” Carey said.

FSH’s Head of Advanced Heart Failure Unit Dr Lawrence Dembo said the games played a really important role in the recovery process.

“Our whole team is so proud of these patients.  Each of them has overcome so many hurdles to be alive and thanks to the most generous of gifts, now have the opportunity to re-engage in a meaningful life,” Dr Dembo said.

“Using sports to heal is a healthy way for our patients to look after themselves and their transplants.

“Their will and desire in combination with the support and training provided by our expert FSH exercise physiologists, nursing and allied health staff serve as excellent motivation for us all.”

The Australian Transplant Games (external site) are running from 30 September – 6 October 2018.

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