Two-time heart transplant recipient Robbie Thompson will be bringing home a gold medal to the Comox Valley.
Robbie, 16, is currently in Moncton, NB competing in the Canadian Transplant Games. The Games began on July 7 and run through the 12th.
Robbie won the 5K cycling event on Tuesday and will also be competing in a 20K cycling event and several swimming events in the coming days.
The Transplant Games run every two years and offer the opportunity to highlight the importance of organ donation, the full and healthy lives recipients enjoy and the opportunity to celebrate and thank donors and donor families for the precious gift of life.
Robbie’s incredible journey began when the Valley native was just a few months old. Found to have a defective heart muscle at five months old, he underwent his first transplant almost a year later in July 1999.
Robbie was again listed for a heart transplant in December 2002 when cardiologists found that veins in his heart had become blocked, placing him at risk of a heart attack.
Sue Germain, Robbie’s mother, has instilled in him what an amazing gift organ donation truly can be. “When Robbie was on the transplant ward after his second transplant, and he was walking around, he’d meet up with other kids, and we realized there were several families, several children there that had received organs the same night that Robbie had. There was this incredible feeling that this one donor had saved all these children’s lives.”
Robbie and his family feel a responsibility to give back not only to the transplant community but also the Comox Valley community that helped his family during difficult times.
One of the community groups that stepped up and raised money to help the Thompson family was the Comox Valley Kin’s Club. This year, during the annual Robbie Thompson Slo-Pitch Tournament, in addition to throwing out the first pitch, Robbie will be shaving his head to draw attention to the good work of the Kin’s Club and the importance of organ donation. He’s been growing out his hair for over a year.
On the opening night of the tournament, Sept. 16, Robbie, his family and friends will be there passing out information on organ donation and registration cards for anyone who wants to become a donor.
During these current Transplant Games Robbie has found a way to honour another Valley resident, Ciaran Martin. Martin died after being struck by a car on Jan. 2, 2014 in Black Creek. Ciaran’s family, knowing Ciaran’s strong feelings about organ donation, donated his organs, bringing hope and new life to six recipient families. During Robbie’s 5K cycling ride, visible on his helmet was a picture of Ciaran.
For more information on organ donation, visit https://www.transplant.bc.ca/index.asp or phone 1-800-663-6189.