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Podium success for Mullaghbawn teenager in World Transplant Games

By Diarmúid Pepper

Mullaghbawn’s Eve Hamill had a summer to remember as she took home four medals from the recent World Transplant Games.

The 13-year-old swimmer was selected to compete on behalf Team GB NI at the Games which were held in Newcastle/Gateshead.

She was one of only 12 juniors to be selected for the GB NI Swim team after her performance in the UK Transplant Games of 2018 and 2017. She was also selected to swim in the adult female Team GBNI swim relay team.

Eve left the Games, which are held every two years, with a Gold, Silver, and two Bronze medals.

The slogan of the World Transplant Games is “powered by the gift of life” and the event, which was held in late August, is a celebration of those who have received a second chance of life due to transplant surgery. 

Only 45% of Northern Irish people have signed up to the NHS Organ Donor Register and nine Northern Irish people died whilst awaiting an organ transplant last year.

So whilst the Games celebrate the achievements of those who have been given a second chance through organ donations, it also promotes and raises awareness of organ and tissue donation.

In addition to her recent success at the World Transplant Games, Eve also swam for the Birmingham team in the UK Transplant games which was held in July 2019.

Participants in the UK Transplant Games compete for the unit where they had their transplant. For Eve, that was Birmingham Children’s Hospital, where she had a liver transplant just prior to her 6th birthday.

She came away from the UK Transplant Games with five medals in tow. 

Eve is currently a year 10 Student at Our Lady’s Grammar School and swims with the Newry and Mourne amateur Swim Club.

Our Lady’s said that they were very proud of Eve who has excelled in her sporting endeavours over the summer. 

Eve now has high hopes that she will soon be headed to Houston, Texas, which is the venue for the 2021 World Transplant Games.

Eve’s dad Jim spoke to The Examiner about her rampant success.

He said: “We were delighted to hear that she had been selected because it is a huge step up in athletic terms. To us, the important thing is the recognition that they have been through so much yet they can still perform so well. They perform at such a competitive level despite the medical history behind them.”

“It is a big kudos to all concerned. The level of competition is so high and the purpose and ethos of the Games is very commendable. 

“This is a tremendous achievement for Eve. She couldn’t attend school for a stint, but can now swim in internationally recognized swimming events where the rules and criteria are so strict.

“She will now swim again for the Birmingham Children’s Hospital at the UK Transplant Games in Coventry next summer, and because she is on the GB Team, she will hopefully be heading for Houston in 2021 for the World Transplant Games, which would be a great road-trip for the family!”