Robbie Thompson is a Courtenay athlete who travelled to the UK to compete at the World Transplant Games. Photo supplied

Thompson forced to withdraw from swim race

Robbie Thompson was forced to withdraw from his swimming race Wednesday at the World Transplant Games in Newcastle because he came down with a chest cold. The 21-year-old Courtenay had planned to compete in the 50-metre freestyle event.

“I am disappointed that I wasn’t able to compete, but am very happy to have been able to attend the event,” Thompson said by email.

On Monday, he competed in the 10-kilometre time trial cycling race.

Robbie celebrated the 20th anniversary of his first heart transplant on July 21. He was just 18 months old when he underwent his first operation. A few years later, he was listed for another transplant after developing coronary heart disease.

He competed at the World Transplant Games to honour his donor family and to celebrate the 20-year milestone.

“One of the realities of being an organ recipient is that we have a compromised immune system from the drugs we must take to prevent our bodies from rejecting our new organs,” he said. “Thus, we get sick easier. However, it’s a small price to pay for the life we get to enjoy. I’ve been able to meet all sorts of people from around the world with all sorts of organ transplants, and it’s truly incredible.”

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