Strange Boat - Organ Donation Awareness


Emotional Scenes at Transplant Games

Emotional scenes as donor, Terry McCreary from Tallaght watches bone marrow recipient Marina Avsenik from Slovenia win gold at the European Transplant & Dialysis Games in Dublin.

Rapturous applause greeted Slovenia’s Marina Avensik when she crossed the Women’s Mini-marathon finish-line in first place for her category (50-59), at the European Transplant & Dialysis Games held in DCU from 9th - 14th August. Not only was she met there by her family and team mates, but by Terry McCreary for which she reserves a very special place in her heart: a man who utterly changed her life for the better when he donated his bone marrow in 1992.  In fact, he didn’t just change her life – he saved it.   

Terry McCreary, a native of Belfast now living in Tallaght, responded to an appeal for blood donors when living in York, England, and selflessly agreed to donate his bone marrow after it emerged that he would be a match.

Marina explains how ill she was before the life-saving transplantation:

“It was a very difficult time for me and my family at the time. I was in my 30s with five children and I was diagnosed with severe Leukaemia. To get up one step onto a bus, for example, I needed someone pushing me – that’s how weak I became,” said Marina.

“But I had to stay strong for my family.  When Terry donated his bone marrow it changed my life”.”

At the time, Terry and Marina didn’t know each other. They began corresponding via an intermediary organisation, and eventually they were able to meet each other. It has led to a deep friendship between the two, and their families.

“I was speechless, completely speechless, when we first met. I am so grateful to Terry. I now consider him my brother,” she said.

Marina and her family are now staying on in Ireland to holiday with Terry and his family. “I find it very emotional to talk about it. Little did I think when I first went to offer to be a donor that it would lead to me saving the life of a person I would one day meet. It really is amazing,” said Terry.
“We now consider ourselves brother and sister."

(Story by games volunteer Sarah May; photo by games volunteer Jimmy Servis)

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