FOR Warrnambool cyclist Hayden Brodie, it was a “celebration of life”. Winning two Australian Transplant Games gold medals was just an added bonus.
“I got to meet heaps of new people from all different states and people with different transplants — kidneys, lung, heart,” he said.
“Those people were lucky to be there, let alone competing in sports from everything from swimming to track and field. And there was low-impact stuff for older competitors, like lawn bowls and Scrabble.
“It is a celebration of life and to show the rest of the nation that if you do get a transplant, you can still do everything everyone else can do.
“I talked to a guy who had had a heart and double lung transplant done and he was riding, swimming and walking.
“It was unbelievable I was even talking to him.”
Brodie, 25, snared gold in the 18 to 29-year-old time trial and 20-kilometre road race at the Games in Newcastle this week.
On Valentine’s Day in 2007, he underwent the Ross procedure, which replaced his aortic valve. It corrected a problem Brodie had endured since birth.
While he could manage it, he stopped cycling competitively before the surgery, before jumping back into competition about 12 months ago.
“The Transplant Games I earmarked and I trained for and thought I’d go well in as I knew I’d be equal,” Brodie said.
The Australian Transplant Games cater for donor recipients, donors, supporters and family of donors.
Brodie, a Warrnambool Cycling Club member, said he preferred short distance racing.
“The terrain at the Hunter Valley was short and sharp and worked in my favour,” he said.
Brodie has been invited to the World Transplant Games in South Africa next year.
“It raises awareness for organ donation,” he said.
Cycling is a passion of Brodie’s.
“Warrnambool is a great club and cycling is great around the area,” he said.
“There are races every weekend and you’re out in the fresh air.”