Sun. Nov 17th, 2019

80-year-old transplant recipient to represent SA at World Transplant Games

Nothing is stopping this Cape Town octogenarian.

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Johan Roos from Belville in Cape Town was the recipient of a heart transplant at Groote Schuur Hospital 20 years ago after he was given 11 months to live.

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Johan Roos

His journey to the Transplant Games

20 years ago, Roos was declared terminally
ill and given 11 months to live. His lack of medical aid meant that he was
referred to Groote Schuur Hospital where he was placed on a waiting list for a
heart transplant that would save his life.

Roos says, “I was never sure whether I would survive the next day, hour or minute. Death was my constant companion. But I woke up on the 7th of November 1999 with my new heart, I realized at that moment I had been given a second chance at life.”

The World Transplant Games

The Games will take place in August in Newcastle in the UK. Roos wishes to attend to honour the individual who unselfishly became an organ donor and allowed him a second chance at life.

The World Transplant Games celebrates
successful transplantation and the gift of life. The Games were established in
1978 and transplantees from more than 60 countries participate in various field
and track events.

Roos will be competing in discus, javelin, shot put, throw ball and pétanque. He will be making history as one of the oldest participants in the Games’ history.

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“I am probably the first 80-year old transplant patient in the world to compete in these games. It is of great significance for South Africa where the first heart transplant was done,” he says.

Financing

As a pensioner, Roos is dependent on sponsorship and donations that will help pay for his trip to the Games. A BackaBuddy campaign has been set up to help support Roos and will cover the costs of his travels, accommodation, registration, visas and clothing.

“I want to be living proof of the progress medical science has made, not to only extend man’s life in a way it is worth living, but to demonstrate the improved quality of life after a transplant. In this way, I also show my gratitude to donors and to promote awareness of organ donation. I hope my community will support my BackaBuddy campaign,” he says.

Johan’s campaign went live on 3 March 2019 and has thus far raised R5141 towards his trip, which will be managed and administered by BackaBuddy and transferred directly to SATSA.

“I am campaigning to realise a dream: That I could represent my country on an international basis and show the world that we are still a leading country in combatting heart and other diseases, to raise awareness of the importance to donate organs, thereby saving the lives of many people desperately in need of a second and better life. I hope the public will support my BackaBuddy campaign to make this new dream come true.”

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