Transplant Games

Johan Roos is set to represent South Africa at the World Transplant Games in Newcastle, UK, competing in Discus, Javelin, Shot Put, Throw Ball and Pétanque.


Cape Town, South Africa – Johan Roos (80) from Belville has been selected to represent South Africa at the World Transplant Games in Newcastle, United Kingdom.

The transplant veteran received a new heart 20 years ago at Groote Schuur Hospital after being declared terminally ill. At the age of 60, Johan was diagnosed with Cardiomyopathy and given approximately 11 months to live. With no medical aid, he was referred to Groote Schuur Hospital, where he was placed on a waiting list for a heart transplant that would save his life. Before receiving his transplant, Johan’s heart stopped beating twice, and he had to be resuscitated by means of electrical shock.

“I was never sure whether I would survive the next day – hour – minute. Death was my constant companion. But I woke up on the 7th of November 1999 with my new heart, I realized at that moment I had been given a second chance at life.” – says Johan

Johan will join 60 South Africans at the games and plans to honour the individual, who gave him a second chance at life.

The World Transplant Games were established in 1978, and the Federation celebrates successful transplantation and the gift of life through unique and inspiring events – namely the Summer and Winter World Transplant Games.

At the event, Transplantees from more than 60 countries participate in various field and track events. Similar to the Olympics, other activities such as golf, swimming, cycling, and tennis are also included.

Johan will be participating in Discus, Javelin, Shot Put, Throw Ball and Pétanque. He will also make history as one of the oldest participants to compete in the games.

“I am probably the first 80-year old transplant patient in the world to compete in these games. It is of great significance for South Africa where the first heart transplant was done” – says Johan

As a State Pensioner Johan is dependent on donations to bear the costs of the trip to the World Transplant Games. For this, he has created a campaign for donations based on the crowdfunding platform, BackaBuddy, to help cover his travelling costs, accommodation, registration, Visa fees, and clothing.

“I want to be living proof of the progress medical science has made, not to only extend man’s life in a way it is worth living, but to demonstrate the improved quality of life after a transplant. In this way, I also show my gratitude to donors and to promote awareness of organ donation. I hope my community will support my BackaBuddy campaign” – says Johan

Johan’s campaign went live on 3 March 2019 and has thus far raised R5141.00 towards his trip, which will be managed and administered by BackaBuddy and transferred directly to the South African Transplant Sports Association (SATSA).

“I am campaigning to realize a dream: That I could represent my country on an international basis and show the world that we are still a leading country in combatting heart and other diseases, to raise awareness of the importance to donate organs, thereby saving the lives of many people desperately in need of a second and better life. I hope the public will support my BackaBuddy campaign to make this new dream come true.” – says Johan

A generous donor, Gert Kruger, gifted Johan a brand new javelin and shot-put to use at the games. If you would like to support Johan, you can do so via his BackaBuddy here. You can listen to Johan’s story below.

Sources: BackaBuddy Supplied 
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Tyler Leigh Vivier
About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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