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Curling duo are going for gold

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By Fiona Reid
Sport
Curling duo are going for gold

CANADA is calling for two inspiring women from the region who will take part in this year’s World Winter Transplant Games next month.

Linda Owen from Middlebie and Fiona McCrae from Auchencairn are part of the Team GB curling squad that will compete in Banff and Lake Louise.

And the pressure is especially on for Linda to help retain the curling gold medal that she and GB won at the last games in Switzerland in 2018. She said: “It is so exciting to be able to curl in Canada and have the opportunity to defend the gold medal that we won last time. The games’ motto is ‘powered by the gift of life’, which I think sums up how I feel about taking part.”

Linda, who works for the NHS in Dumfries, received a heart transplant five years ago, just after the birth of her twins.

Meanwhile, Fiona has had three kidney transplants over the past 35 years, with dialysis in between times when the first two rejected. She said: “Curling in Canada is going to be fantastic experience and its great to be able to take part in Transplant Sport again as I used to take part in the British Transplant Summer Games.”

The event will feature more than 100 competitors from across the world taking part in a range of winter sports. Team GB have the most participants at 25 and their team manager Lynne Holt said: “Many of our transplant athletes have experienced near death situations and long illnesses. For me, it is very gratifying to see them able to enjoy an active life once again thanks to organ donation. “Without this gift of life many of them would not be here to compete in this special event. Every member of the team has already climbed a mountain to get through their transplant and with an immense amount of courage and determination will now get to enjoy the thrills of being up in the Rocky Mountains in Canada. I hope this inspiring, international event will encourage others to sign up to the Organ Donor Register but, most importantly, encourage people to discuss their wishes with their families.”

And both Linda and Fiona are also keen to raise awareness of a forthcoming change in the law on organ donation, which will start in Scotland this autumn. Linda said: “The law is changing and you will have to opt out of being on the register. People still need to have discussions about this with families as the family will still be asked to check that it’s not against your wishes should you be in a position to be a donor.”

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