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About Sickkids
About SickKids

August 10, 2007

National team of SickKids heart transplant patients to participate in the World Transplant Games in Bangkok

TORONTO – The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) is proud to announce that an official hospital team of heart transplant patients will be travelling to Bangkok to participate in the 16th World Transplant Games, held from August 25 to September 3, 2007.

Team SickKids is comprised of 17 SickKids cardiac patients from across Canada who have received one or more heart transplants. SickKids is the first and only Canadian hospital to have an official team attend the games and the team makes up half of the 34-member Canadian delegation.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper congratulated Team SickKids for representing Canada at the games. “Your stories are inspirational,” said the Prime Minister. “I admire the courage and determination you are showing as you take part in this international competition. You are testaments to the great potential of transplant patients of all ages and it is my hope that you will continue to enjoy renewed strength.”

The SickKids Heart Transplant Program embarked on the ambitious task of organizing a formal hospital team after witnessing the positive effects the games had on patients’ physical and social development post-transplantation. The team organizers, Dr. Anne Dipchand, head of the SickKids Heart Transplant Program, and Alison Drabble, a heart and lung transplant nurse at SickKids, will be accompanying the participants and their parents to the games in Thailand.

“One of the main goals of paediatric heart transplantation is to provide a better quality of life and as normal a childhood as possible for our patients,” said Dr. Dipchand. “What better way to motivate patients post-transplant to maintain a healthy lifestyle and to foster special childhood memories than by taking them on this trip of a lifetime.”

Many of Team SickKids’ athletes are preparing for the games through an exercise training program developed by Robin Deliva, a heart and lung transplant physiotherapist at SickKids, who will be attending the games with the group. The athletes will be participating in several competitions, including: badminton, track and field, swimming, golf, volleyball, bowling and table tennis.

The patients have also prepared for the games by fundraising in their communities to cover the cost of the trip to Thailand. In addition, Team SickKids received support from Cardiac Kids, David Foster Foundation, Trillium Gift of Life Network, Cathay Pacific, Roche Canada and Wyeth Pharmaceuticals.

Team SickKids member Devan Cruickshanks, 11, received her heart transplant three years ago. Since then, she has competed in the 2005 World Transplant Games, where she won five medals, and in last summer’s Canadian Transplant Games, where she won seven medals.

“I think it’s important that people know just how much we can do after transplant,” said Cruickshanks, who lives in Dundas, Ontario. “I am excited about going to Thailand with Team SickKids. It will be nice to be around kids that have gone through the same thing that I have been through. Hopefully I’ll win a medal or two.”

Team SickKids will be posting daily journal entries and results from the World Transplant Games on the hospital’s Web site, www.sickkids.ca.

The World Transplant Games first started in 1978 and included teams from four countries with just under 100 competitors. Since then, the games have grown to include over 68 member countries and 1,500 participants. The competitors are unique in that each one of them is alive as a result of a successful organ transplant.

The SickKids Heart Transplant Program offers a multi-disciplinary team approach that focuses on post-transplant care to ensure both better outcomes and an improved quality of life amongst paediatric heart transplant patients, from babies to teenagers. The hospital is the only Canadian centre participating in a North American study tracking paediatric heart transplant patients.

Since the SickKids Heart Transplant Program began in 1990, over 200 heart transplants have been performed at the hospital, establishing SickKids as one of the largest paediatric heart transplant centres in the world. In 2006, SickKids performed 20 heart transplants on children from across the country, setting a record for the number of paediatric heart transplants performed in a year by a Canadian transplant centre.

The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), affiliated with the University of Toronto, is Canada’s most research-intensive hospital and the largest centre dedicated to improving children’s health in the country. As innovators in child health, SickKids improves the health of children by integrating care, research and teaching. Our mission is to provide the best in complex and specialized care by creating scientific and clinical advancements, sharing our knowledge and expertise and championing the development of an accessible, comprehensive and sustainable child health system. For more information, please visit www.sickkids.ca. SickKids is committed to healthier children for a better world.

For more information, please contact:

Media Contact
Public Affairs
The Hospital for Sick Children
Phone: 416-813-6380
Fax: 416-813-5328