The World Transplant Games Federation has commenced a Hall of Fame to honour competitors who have attended 15 or more Summer World Transplant Game, as well as individuals who have played an integral part of the leadership of the World Transplant Games Federation. The below information highlights the categories and these special individuals.
Athanasia was was born in 1958 in Athens. Nephritis gave its first signs at the age of 6. In 1978 she underwent a kidney transplant, with her mother as her donor. Her life soon changed. She became the founding member of the Greek Transplant Sports Team, taking part in Greek Games, European Games and World Transplant Games, and winning various medals in athletics and ping-pong. With an academic major in Laboratory Studies, she worked for 30 years in a Public Hospital, and has been doing volunteer work in various organisations promoting organ and tissue donation and being active post transplant. The Games in Malaga is Athanasia’s 17th World Transplant Games, making her the official athlete to have attending the most World Transplant Games to date. Congratulations on this amazing achievement!
Heather Edgell is one of organ and tissue donation’s most inspiring success stories. In 1979, after being on dialysis for 2 difficult years, Heather was one of the first people to receive the gift of life in Australia when she underwent a kidney transplant at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney. Now, 38 years later, Heather has raised her two sons and has 6 grandchildren. She’s won a staggering 100 Transplant Games medals for athletics, bowling, Pétanque and swimming. In 1993, she broke the Transplant Games World Record in her age group in swimming events. She’s seen the world, representing her country at every World Transplant Games since 1987. Her participation in the World Transplant Games has taken Heather to Austria, Japan, South Africa, Canada, Hungary, France, Thailand, England, Sweden, Singapore and Argentina. Malaga, in fact, will be her 16th World Transplant Games. On the home front, Heather has been volunteering her time, teaching the disabled how to bowl, and promoting organ and tissue donation for many years. This incredible life, this amazing woman, was made possible all because a person and a family said “yes” to organ donation. Congratulations Heather, on celebrating your latest World Transplant Games adventure in Spain.
Erika Kokol (Langbauer) is a three times kidney transplanted recipient – 1979, 1992 and 1999 . After her very first first transplant she was able to participate in sports and has now attended 16 Summer World Transplant Games including Malaga. She has also attended every single Winter World Transplant Games (9 in total) Her achievement at these games has been incredible with various medals won in Table Tennis at almost every single Games. Erika was also the founding member of the Austrian Transplant Sports Association in 1984, ad for many years, the President and Country Representative at the World Transplant Games. Erika is now 61 years old and still continues to promote organ donation and the need for exercise post transplant.
Kathleen Gerlach started going to the World Transplant Games in 1980 when it was in New York City, USA. The World Transplant Games in Malaga is now her 16th World Transplant Games. Since the games first started, Kathleen has only ever missed 3 of the games. Kathleen proclaims that these games have been the best experiences in her life. Kathleen was only 25 years old at her first World Transplant Games in 1980. This year at the games, Kathleen is now 62 years old! Kathleen is so thankful for her gift of life, which has been with her now for an inspirational 42 years! Congratulations Kathleen!
Peter Griffin was a British physician who played a key role in developing the World Transplant Games Federation over the course of almost thirty years of service. Working with Maurice Slapak, Peter’s key contributions to the organization were his attention to the details of the Federation’s activities and his passion for sports. He believed that the World Transplant Games should always illustrate the best of athletics and sport, and that an athlete’s desire to excel should only be exceeded by his honor as a sportsman.
Dr. Maurice Slapak, a retired transplant surgeon from Britain, was the founding President of the World Transplant Games Federation from its inception with the “Transplant Olympics’ in 1978 through to 2004. The introduction of these Games was designed to visibly demonstrate the success of transplantation by showcasing these athletes were now fit and well. Dr. Slapak witnessed first hand over the years the success of the Federation in achieving an increase in organ transplants as a result of the World Transplant Games and various other initiatives of the Federation. The Games had and continues to succeed in showing the public that the Gift of Life can make these transformations possible. Read more about Dr. Maurice Slapak.
Karl Handschuch was lieutenant colonel at German Bundeswehr when he fell ill with a severe kidney disease. Fortunately ,after a difficult period on dialysis, he was transplanted with a donor kidney. Almost immediately Karl started training to improve his physical activity. Karl traveled with a small group of German kidney recipients to Portesmouth/UK, participating in the first Kidney Olympics. He became the role of the speaker for all German speaking participants. 1987 the group participated at the World Transplant Games in Lake Placid/USA. On their way home, still at the airport in New York, these people established , Deutsche Sportvereiningung für Nierentransplantierte e. V.“. From this first worldwide event in Lake Placid, Karl was in contact with Maurice Slapac (WTGF Founding President) to give transplant sports structure and rules. He became an integral part of our leadership and history as a Federation. In all these 30 years, interrupted for three years because the damage of his donor kidney, Karl constantly gave manpower to support the idea of physical activity (sports) after organ transplantation. Karl, called „KARLO“ was for many years a member of the board of TransDia Sport Deutschland, and is honored today as TransDias „Hon. Senior President“. He also served for many years as a councillor fort he WTGF
Mr. Olivier Coustere from France served as the WTGF President from 2004 until 2015, a period of 12 years. Prior to this he held the position of Executive Secretary (1995 – 2003) and a councillor (1993 – 1994). Olivier currently continues his work with the Federation as a councillor.
Olivier, who has had three kidney transplants (1982, 1994 & 2006) is also the founder of Trans-Forme, the French Transplant & Dialysis Sports Federation, and has been actively involved with them for the past 27 years. Read more about Olivier Coustere.