‘Never Give Up’ Mantra Drives Transplantee’s Sporting Success


Kidney transplantee Robyn Emslie’s mantra of “never give up” will continue at the upcoming National Transplant Games where she hopes to qualify for the World Games in 2023.


Gqeberha, South Africa (30 June 2022) – Robyn Emslie’s mantra of “never give up” has seen her forge a sporting career in the transplantee arena which she will continue in Gqeberha next week.

The 49-year-old is one of dozens of athletes who will celebrate life when they participate in the National Transplant Games, supported by SPAR Eastern Cape, at various venues around the city on July 8 and 9.

Emslie has overcome a serious kidney disease to emerge as one of South Africa’s top transplant competitors, winning silver medals in the darts singles and trips events at the World Transplant Games in England in 2019.

At the same games, she achieved a bronze medal in the petanque pairs event.

That was her fifth appearance at the world event and represented a remarkable turnaround from the time she was diagnosed with early-stage kidney failure at the age of 13.

“At that time, I was very confused and had no idea what lay ahead for me,” recalled Emslie, who lives in East London but is currently on a three-month contract in Kariega, working for Pathcare Laboratories as a medical technologist.

“When I went into end-stage renal failure, I went through a series of varied emotions – anger, denial, depression and eventually acceptance.”

Now her message to others is to “never give up”.

“No matter how daunting your situation may be, hold on to your faith, keep your support system such as family and friends close and learn as much as you can about what your options are going forward.”

Despite 21 years of monitoring her blood results and undergoing a bone marrow biopsy, as well as two kidney biopsies, Emslie’s kidneys continued to deteriorate.

“I went into end-stage kidney failure in January 2007 after getting food poisoning and suffering from dehydration,” she said.

“I was on dialysis for just over one year before receiving my life-saving gift from my sister-in-law, Linda Styles, on February 12, 2008.

“I realised when I was first diagnosed that my life would never be the same again, not as a child or teenager, nor as an adult. And it is true to a point – I have a very different life to what I ever imagined.”

Yet, despite this, Emslie remains positive about her life and sees the Transplant Games as a chance to share in the camaraderie of fellow transplanted athletes who have been through similar challenges.

“It is one of the most amazing feelings to be involved in the nationals and World Transplant Games,” she said.

“We get together with others who have gone through the same life-changing experience of an organ or bone marrow transplant. We share life stories, both good and bad, and make new friends as we go.

“The World Transplant Games is something different. To get together with transplantees from over 50 countries is truly unbelievable and I am proud and privileged to have represented South Africa.

“I have met wonderful people and made great friends over the years of attending these events.”

Her focus now is on the national event where she will compete in lawn bowls, petanque, darts and tenpin bowling.

“I’m going to nationals to do my best in my events and to try to secure my place for Australia in 2023,” said Emslie.

“Following nationals, I will continue practising my sporting events, start to do fundraising for Australia and stay as healthy as possible, as all transplantees do.”

Sources: Full Stop Communications
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‘Never Give Up’ Mantra Drives Transplantee’s Sporting Success