From life-saving surgery to world games

Published 5:00pm 3 April 2023

From life-saving surgery to world games
Words by Nick Crockford

Burpengary’s Paul Beard is aiming to make the most of his new lease on life at the World Transplant Games next month.

The 62-year-old will represent Australia in four events – swimming, pétanque, volleyball and tenpin bowling - in Perth, from April 15-21.

It is a remarkable achievement for someone who, in 2016, was struggling to climb stairs.

Rare disease

Mr Beard had been diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, a rare and incurable lung disease which affects the tissue around air sacs.

The following year, he had a double lung transplant and triple bypass surgery at Prince Charles Hospital, Chermside, which changed his life.

Mr Beard credits Professor Peter Hopkins and the lung transplant team at Prince Charles Hospital for his recovery.

From life-saving surgery to world games

'Nervous'

“I was quite nervous going into my transplant but when I woke up from surgery, I felt so much better and I just knew that everything was going to work out fine,” he said.

“Competing at the games gives me extra motivation to stay fit and healthy so that I can be around a lot longer with my amazing family.”

Since his transplant Mr Beard has supported research into lung disease, raising funds in the Tour de Brisbane cycling event last year.

New challenge

Now he’s ready for a new challenge and is back training hard – after slowing for a COVID infection last year - to bring home gold.

The World Transplant Games is a week of sport and celebration for those who have received a life-saving transplant, such as heart, liver, lung, kidney, pancreas and bone marrow.

It promotes the message transplantation saves lives – and every Australian can leave a legacy by registering as an organ and tissue donor.

From life-saving surgery to world games
Paul Beard and wife Lyn

Waiting

Transplant Australia CEO and World Transplant Games Federation President, Chris Thomas, said more than 1800 Australians are waiting for a transplant.

“Every Australian can make a difference by registering as a donor. It takes just one minute but has the potential to give someone years of extra life,” he said.

“These Games demonstrate what transplant recipients can achieve on the sporting field."

Register

Transplant Australia strives to improve the lives of those waiting and those who had a transplant.

It works with Federal and State Governments to achieve our shared vision for Australia in donation and transplantation.

To register as donor click here

From life-saving surgery to world games

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