Celebrating a second chance at life will be two organ transplant recipients who are rejoicing in their return to health by participating in the Byron Bay Triathlon on May 12.
Rod Marshdale, a double lung recipient, and Stuart McLeod, a kidney recipient, are taking part in the gruelling event consisting of a 1.5km swim, 40km bike ride and 10km run to demonstrate the benefits of transplantation.
Rod received a double lung transplant in 2015, and Stuart received a kidney transplant in 2002. The generosity of their organ donors has inspired them to make the most of life by staying healthy and competing in sport.
Rod, a father of two, suffers from cystic fibrosis and was in and out of hospitals for years. When organ donation turned his life around, Rod decided to make the most of every single moment, training and eventually representing Australia at the 2017 World Transplant Games.
It is extremely rare for transplant recipients to compete in events as difficult as the Byron Triathlon. Rod is using the event to raise the bar even further.
‘I want to compete in a half Ironman event and eventually go the whole way… It’s been a long journey for me, but what I’m trying to do now is raise awareness of organ donation through competing in these events.’
Similarly, Stuart became inspired after his kidney transplant in 2002 and has since completed eight sprint triathlons/short-distance triathlons. The Byron Bay race will be his first attempt at the Olympic distance.
Stuart’s fiancé Kathy will be by his side at the Byron Bay triathlon, competing with him. The happy couple are getting married in August, another milestone which would not have been possible pre-transplant.
Transplant Australia CEO Chris Thomas said that people like Rod and Stuart are inspiring other transplant recipients to reach their physical potential.
‘Research shows that physical activity is especially important for transplant recipients and helps keep transplants safer longer,’ he said.
‘That’s why Transplant Australia stages the Australian Transplant Games, the largest sporting event for recipients in the country.
‘After the Byron triathlon, we’re looking forward to seeing Rod and Stuart compete at this year’s Australian Transplant Games on the Gold Coast in September.’
You can register as organ donors at donatelife.gov.au.