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Halcyon Waters hosts Transplant Games athletes with a new lease on life

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October 12, 2018

Halcyon Waters celebrated the life-changing gift of organ donation when the community-made its debut as a host sporting venue for the Australian Transplant Games in October.

The Hope Island-based community was chosen as the location for the Games’ triathlon event thanks to its welcoming homeowners, beautiful swimming pool, and wide, quiet and safe streets.

Close to 70 homeowners put their hands up to help organise the day. Their hard work and support helped make this inspiring event an outstanding success, and one that the athletes branded the best they had competed in.

Rainy weather did not deter the athletes but saw the triathlon become an aquathon - swimming and running only - after the wet roadway was deemed too dangerous for cycling.

After organisers made the necessary recalculations, the athletes swam laps of the Leisure Club pool and ran a designated circuit on the community’s streets. They were cheered and encouraged along by their supporters, volunteers and homeowners who lined the race route.

Afterward, the athletes, who included Halcyon Parks community manager Kate Clark, were joined by supporters, volunteers and homeowners for a barbecue brunch and celebration in the community’s park.

Paul Watson, who co-ordinated Halcyon Waters’ volunteer effort, said homeowners had eagerly thrown their support behind the event.

“Most of us think it’s a damn good cause and it’s one that homeowners understand and feel for because at some time it has affected them or their family,” he said.

“It was a fantastic day, everybody who was on the track was waving the athletes on.

“The atmosphere was brilliant and the feedback from the participants was brilliant. They said they’ve never had a Games experience like that before. And that was the highlight - just how wonderfully they received it.”

Paul said the overwhelming support for, and success of, the event had opened the door to other possibilities.

“It made us think that we should host something like that again, maybe an inter-Halcyon games,” he said.

“There’s an enormous amount of experience and intellect in this place and it loves to be tapped for good causes.”

Homeowner Wendy Morrin said she thoroughly enjoyed her role as a volunteer team leader on the run leg.

“It was wonderful to hear some of the athletes’ stories,” she said.

“We’d watched them running around and then found out they’d had a heart and lung transplant, it was very inspiring.

“I’m already a donor, but if I wasn’t, that experience would have convinced me to sign up.”

Fellow volunteer team leader Maureen O’Keefe said helping out gave her a unique opportunity to get close to the competitors.

“We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, it was great talking to the participants and understanding what they have overcome to participate and be here,” she said.

“We had more of a chance to talk to them because we were on the water station.

“I also got to meet some new homeowners in what was a friendly, relaxed and enjoyable experience.”

National Membership and Sports Administrator for the Australian Transplant Games Matty Hempstalk said the Halcyon Waters community was the perfect location for the competition.

“It is ideal because it’s safe and secure, there are no police involved in closing streets and the roads are wide enough for multiple runners and bikes to get through,” he said.

Matty said events like the Australian Transplant Games were an opportunity to spread the message of organ donation.

“Currently only half of all transplants go ahead because family members aren’t aware of the wishes of those who have passed away, so it’s incredibly important loved ones are made aware,” he said.