Henk Goris Transplant Athlete

“One of the greatest feelings is accomplishing something you once thought would have been impossible!”

National Transplant Games Champion

This year at the South African National Transplant Games held in Johannesburg, I experienced this feeling. As a sixteen-month post-transplant athlete it was my first “Nationals”, and an event I had been working towards mentally since I first read about the Games in the Transplant News while still on hemodialysis. The thought of competing with organ recipients who have all walked a similar journey, ignited a sense of hope as I set myself the goal of representing my country in transplant sports to promote organ donation.

Hemodialysis and Transplant Journey

It was a goal that gave me the hope and motivation while on the transplant waiting list. In May 2015, I received a phone call notifying me that I would be blessed with a new kidney. After the recovery phase, I could not wait to use the new strength in my body as I felt so privileged to be able to live without restriction and to partake in a sport that I love: cycling.

Garden Route Trail Park

Cycling usually requires hours of commitment but the time spent in the saddle seems irrelevant to me as I feel the freedom life offers an organ transplant recipient every time I turn my pedals. The 2016 National Transplant Games offered me an opportunity to celebrate this precious life we have been given, as well as a chance to achieve my personal goal.

My goal was to qualify to represent South Africa at the World Transplant Games in Malaga, Spain in 2017. With complete humility and thankfulness, I am now able to work towards Spain next year as I completed the 20km Time Trial within the required time, setting a new world record.

As transplant athletes, we aim to encourage patients waiting for their gift of life, as well as organ recipients to lead a healthy lifestyle through physical activity. I am honoured to be part of an organisation such as SATSA, and I am thankful for my health and that I am able to lead this lifestyle of a transplant athlete. I honour my donor daily, and I give all the glory to God – my healer and provider.

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Henk Goris
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