We are waking up to day two of competition in the World Transplant Games, but so far our primary occupation has been cheerleading the rest of Team Canada. Addison doesn’t compete until Friday and Saturday so we have most of the week to just enjoy being part of this incredible experience.
These WTG in Malaga are huge, one of the highest numbers of participants ever with 2200 people from 54 countries competing. That’s three times the number of athletes at Addison’s first WTG in Argentina. Team Canada is about triple the size of last time too with more than a hundred people.
The opening ceremonies on Sunday night were held in the historic bullring, the Plaza de Toros. Addison was practically giddy, “I’m scared but so excited!!” When I watched her walk in with the rest of Team Canada, it was overwhelmingly emotional.
In many ways, seeing her joy at being part of something so huge, surrounded by people just like her, is testament to how far she has come and how fortunate we are that she has been given this second chance at living. Then when you realize every single one of the athletes here has a similar story, it’s incredible. How can anyone deny the power of organ donation?
Team Canada has already garnered a few medals from Day 1 at the 5km road race. We went to cheer on Team Canada and got there just in time to encourage all our runners towards the finish line, and provide emergency water from Charlie’s sippy bottle to a couple of our athletes. For those who might think the WTG is mostly a social gathering with some sports thrown in for fun, here are some stats to prove you wrong: the fastest 5km time overall yesterday was 16:16 from an Australian runner. Our fastest Canadian was Anthony Parsons at 17:31!!!
The competition is pretty fierce for the adults, but for the younger kids it’s really about fun and being active. Addison is in the 6-8 year old category this time, and though she was the youngest competitor in Argentina, we weren’t sure if that would be the case this time. Last night, we found out she is definitely the youngest girl, and possibly the youngest overall. She met her two competitors – 7 year old Saho from Japan, a heart transplant recipient, and 8 year old Lisa from New Zealand, liver transplant recipient. In true kid fashion, the girls got busy trading pins and other souvenirs, and then got down to a serious dance-a-thon.
Even though the teams are spread out at 16 hotels around the city, we’ve already reunited with some of the transplant friends we made in Argentina, and made some new friends. Addison’s reputation lives on and I think she’ll have a lot of people cheering for her on Friday and Saturday.
Elaine, Aaron, Addison and Charlie