Sheila Gregan, Nenagh, and Peter Heffernan, Skerries, who both won bronze medals in the swimming events.

Nenagh’s Sheila wins European bronze

Success at European transplant games

Nenagh's Sheila Gregan is back in the medals again, this time in swimming, after taking the bronze in the European Transplant and Dialysis Games in Oxford in a competition in which she and her Irish team mates came away with a staggering 34 medals.

Sheila flew the flag for Nenagh and Tipperary as she competed with a 14-strong Ireland team of transplant and dialysis athletes from Tipperary, Dublin, Kildare, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Clare and Roscommon.

The squad were competing in the multi-sport games against other heart, lung, liver, kidney, pancreas and bone marrow transplant recipients, and kidney dialysis patients from over 25 countries.

The Irish team of 11 men and three women consisted of nine kidney recipients - which included Sheila - two liver recipients, a double lung recipient, a bone marrow recipient and one on dialysis.

Sheila was in action in the pool, finishing in third place to bag the bronze medal in the 100 metres breast stroke. One other member of the team also medalled in the swimming - Peter Heffernan from Skerries won three bronze medals in the 50m freestyle, 50m backstrone and 400m freestyle.

It's yet another wonderful achievement for the Nenagh woman, who was diagnosed with a life threatening illness when she was just 16 years of age. Now well over three decades later she is still on top of her game after undergoing not just one but two kidney transplants. The Nenagh bank official has been taking part in transplant games at the highest level for well over a decade and has medalled in every World and European games she has competed in to date.

Sheila competed in her first games at European level when she was 42 and says that getting the most from her body through sports such as swimming is her way of honouring the memory of the deceased people who gave her two life-saving kidneys.

The Nenagh woman was first diagnosed with renal failure on her 16th birthday and underwent her first kidney transplant a year later in 1986 and had a second transplant exactly 20 years later.

Sheila won a silver in the very first European and Transplant and Dialysis Games she competed in, also in the 100 metres breast stroke. She then followed up a year later with another silvel medal, this time in the 3,000 metres walk, at the World Transplant Games in Malmo in Sweden.

In the intervening years she has medalled in every European and World games she has taken part in. Her impressive haul includes three gold medals, the highlight being the 2013 World Transplant Games in South Africa when she struck gold in the virtual triathlon in her age category.