Courtenay athlete celebrates 20th anniversary of heart transplant

Robbie Thompson prepares to swim, cycle at World Games

Robbie Thompson celebrates the 20th anniversary of his first heart transplant on July 21. To honour his donor family and to celebrate this milestone, the 21-year-old Courtenay resident will be participating in the World Transplant Games, Aug. 17-24 in Newcastle, UK.

Robbie plans to compete in the 50-metre freestyle swim, and the 10-kilometre cycling time trial.

“It’s the sports that I tend to be most able to do,” he said. “I can’t do track and field because of my heart and my muscle disease. Those are the sports that I’m best at that aren’t going to be too harmful to my body.”

Though still assembling his bike, Robbie hopes to be swimming most days in the countdown to Newcastle. He has started a training regimen at CBI Health.

This will be Thompson’s second trip to a World Transplant Games — the first was Australia, 2009 — but he’s competed in several national events. He won two cycling golds and a swimming gold at the 2018 Games in Vancouver.

“The World Transplant Games tend to be a little more competitive,” he said, noting Canada is among the “laid back” countries, while others have qualifying standards. “In my experience, it’s mostly just a lot of fun. The Canadian Games have always been a huge blast.”

Thompson, who is studying digital media studies at VIU in Nanaimo, recently attended a media and public speaking seminar hosted by BC Transplant.

“The logo we use is it takes two minutes (to register for organ donation). I didn’t have life before my transplant, because my transplant was at the start of my life. What I like to say is that it gave me a life.”

Robbie was just 18 months old when he underwent his first transplant. A few years later, he was listed for another transplant when cardiologists found that veins in his heart had become blocked, placing him at risk of a heart attack.

“I’ve been able to do a lot,” said Thompson, who has also competed in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and kickboxing. He mostly trains on his own to prepare for swimming and cycling races.

During the school year, Robbie manned a BC Transplant booth to register people for organ donation. He often hears that people aren’t confident in terms of being too old, or not healthy enough to donate.

“You really don’t know until it actually comes up. There’s a potential to save eight lives when you donate, or even more than that.”

He notes a story of a 72-year-old man who donated organs to his 81-year-old brother.

“You are never too old to donate. Anybody can donate their organs.”

A Go Fund Me campaign — Send Robbie to the World Transplant Games — has been set up to help him travel to Newcastle.

Help out at bit.ly/2EGvoyz

For more information about organ donation, visit transplant.bc.ca



reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Commemorative plaque stolen from Sandwick Cairn in Courtenay

The peacekeepers plaque has been stolen from the Sandwick Cairn on Dingwall… Continue reading

Painter Fiona Ackerman starts North Island College fall 2019 Artist Talk Series

Acclaimed Vancouver-based painter Fiona Ackerman will join North Island College as the… Continue reading

Comox Valley Record readers ‘Take us Along’ on holidays

When it comes to spreading the news, readers of the Comox Valley… Continue reading

Some Cumberland businesses closing for climate strike rally Friday

A Climate Strike Cumberland Solidarity Rally is set for outside the Cumberland municipal office

Comox contestant competes on Great Canadian Baking Show

Andrea Nauta auditioned for the show before but was lucky second time around

VIDEO: B.C. man accused of assaulting sex worker loses temper in interrogation

Defence lawyer says statements made by accused Curtis Sagmoen should be deemed inadmissible

VIDEO: Fire destroys Williams Lake strip club targeted by past arson attempts

Diamonds and Dust Entertainment Lounge destroyed by fire, crews on scene

Second bat found at Greater Victoria elementary school tests positive for rabies

Island Health confirms second rabies case, this time in Saanich

B.C. man guilty of first-degree murder in Yukon killing

Edward James Penner, 22, was given the mandatory life sentence for the 2017 slaying of 25-year-old Adam Cormack

Woman stabbed at least five times in Nelson during random attack

Victim is in hospital, suspect is in police custody

Victoria man spots online photo of his totem pole 11 years after it was stolen

Mark Trueman restored the pole himself before it was stolen off of his property in Duncan

‘I’d do it again,’ says B.C. man who swam naked, drunk in Toronto shark tank

David Weaver, of Nelson, was drunk when he went to Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto on Oct. 12 2018

How to react to Trudeau’s racist photos? With humility, B.C. prof says

‘We are now treating racism as a crime that you cannot recover from’

Horvat paces Canucks to 6-1 pre-season win over Oilers

Vancouver improves to 3-1 in NHL exhibition action

Most Read