Tara Madigan put in stellar performances to win three gold medals
ON A MEMORABLE weekend for Irish sport there was more success at the 41st British Transplant Games in Birmingham.
A jubilant group of 12 Irish transplant recipients came home with 21 medals. These included three Limerick athletes – John Loftus, Clarina; Trevor Lynch, Cappamore, and Tara Madigan, Castleconnell.
John, affectionately known by his teammates as ‘The Bullet’, won a bronze medal in the 100m race. Unfortunately he pulled a hamstring forcing his withdrawal from other events.
Trevor claimed a silver medal in the 5km as well as a bronze in the 1500m.
However, the star was 11-year-old Tara. The liver transplant recipient in 2012 put in stellar performances to win three gold medals in the 3km; 50m sprint and long jump event.
Tara also smashed the long jump world record in her age category of 2.87 metres set by a New Zealand girl almost 10 years ago. Tara leaped 3.29 meters. Her record breaking success was proudly watched by her parents Anne and Sean and sisters Éle and Érin.
The sporting talent should come as no surprise as her great-grandfather was the legendary Mick Mackey.
Proud dad, Sean said Tara has been very well since her transplant six years ago. Now 11, Tara has really stepped up her sporting involvement this year, playing basketball, gaelic football and camogie for Castleconnel NS and Ahane GAA.
After winning the 3km race on Saturday Tara and her family got to meet the people again who made it all possible.
“We were joined by Gary and Caroline, Tara’s donor’s mum and step-dad. Their gift six years ago when their world was falling apart made all this possible, and they were so delighted to be able to share in what their daughter’s gift to our daughter was enabling Tara to do. We had a great evening with them,” said Sean.
An incredible two more gold medals followed on Sunday but there was no time for Tara to put her feet up!
On Monday, Tara gathered up her gear to go training with the Limerick U-13 development squad. She also trains with the U-13 camogie squad. On a lighter note, Sean jokes that Tara and the rest of family are still looking for All-Ireland tickets!
But Sean is very serious when he says a transplant of any kind is a serious ordeal to go through.
“Tara has been lucky that things have gone so well but looking around the events in Birmingham things are going well for it seems, the vast majority of transplantees. This should give anyone facing into the news that they need a transplant a lot of hope for the future. Organ donation can be a very positive decision both for the recipient and the donating family/person. But it can't happen without a donation.
“Please carry a donor card and make your decision to be a donor known to your next of kin. This simple conversation can save lives. Free text the word DONOR to 50050,” said Sean.