This heading should probably read “Athletic passion” because that’s certainly Christine Griffiths’ life purpose, but pursuing her major ambition has come at a (somewhat crippling) cost.
Our local sports ‘meteor’ recently went public with her plea for donated funding to compete in Bangkok’s forthcoming 16th World Transplant Games.
Restricted to international athletes who have undergone one of modern medicine’s miracles, 100 Australians compete in the biennial Transplant Games. These are run for dedicated athletes who refuse to let major bodily ailments interrupt their life passion.
Nurse Christine will take leave from her work at the Bone Marrow Donor Institute House in Blackwood Street, North Melbourne, to compete in Bangkok’s race walking and sprinting, long jump, table tennis and tennis IF she can gather just under $5000 for fares and accommodation in the Games city.
And her prowess is a sure bet: at the last Transplant Games held in Canada’s London, Ontario, Christine – at 56 – won gold in
the table tennis doubles and bronze in the singles.
“There were no medals in my other events, but that was to be expected,” she admits, frowning. “I had big ventilation problems back then, what with only 50 per cent lung capacity, so the 3-kilometre race walk, road run and mixed doubles tennis were no-go.”
Given her medical history, colleagues probably decry her planned heavy exercise in the tropics; nearly 20 years ago Christine had a bone marrow transplant to overcome chronic myeloid leukaemia and, while the CML was relieved, all cancers – and most treatments – compromise other body parts and there have been ensuing problems.
But there’s no holding this lady down. Her recent application to the City of Melbourne for its Active Melbourne grant of $2000 for sports people would be delivered over 12 months and used to highlight the benefits of her active lifestyle to patients and their associates in both her institute’s treatment house and the wider community.
“I’ve just got a job teaching the COTA (Council on the Ageing) program Living Longer, Living Stronger at Lifestyle Williamstown gym and there is plenty of full-time work elsewhere, but my medicos want me to work only eight hours per week. “This whole thing stresses me out so much, what with the training, and the funding and the money-raising,” she groans, “but I hope to go to the Beijing Olympics as a volunteer in ‘O8, so that’s the next goal.”
And you can bet Christine’s next project will be promoting the 18th World Transplant Games: they’ll be held on the Gold Coast 9-17 August 2009.
Full info on Christine’s Bangkok sponsorship case can be found on www.christinegriffiths.com.
JUNE 2007 :: North and West Melbourne News