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Kaslo woman represents Canada at the World Transplant Winter Games

Kaslo woman represents Canada at the World Transplant Winter Games

A Kaslo woman has returned to her home country after competing in a unique international event for athletes who have received organ donations.

Colleen Tilly was among seven Canadians competing in the World Transplant Winter Games, held March 3-6 in Bormio, Italy. The 12th annual Games are held to honor organ donors and their families.

Tilly received a liver transplant four years ago. While recovering from surgery in Vancouver, Tilly read an article about gaming that stuck with her.

“I've always been a skater. I've been involved in sports my whole life. I thought this would be really cool to check out. It was for a good cause and exciting for me.”

The Games feature skiing, snowboarding, cross country, biathlon, snowshoeing, and curling competitions. Bormio is also scheduled to be the venue for the 2026 Winter Olympics and Paralympics.

Tilly, 64, won three gold and silver medals in alpine skiing, or a third of the Canadian team's medals. But she also competed in curling at the request of a team that had one short ball.

She credited Kaslo Curling Club coaches with helping her prepare before the Games. Tilley said she wouldn't have been out of place on Team Canada, which ended up finishing fourth in curling.

“It's all about participation. You don't have to be an expert to participate in the games.

The results are also secondary to spreading awareness about organ donation. Registering to be a donor is a quick process that could save someone's life, she said.

It saved her when Tilly had surgery just a month after being told she needed a new liver.

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“The main thing is to create awareness that organ transplants exist, to be an organ donor, and to promote the need for organ donation.”

But the medals are nice too.

For information on how to register as an organ donor in British Columbia, visit transplant.bc.ca/organ-donation.

Colleen Tilly was among the Team Canada athletes who competed in the World Transplant Winter Games in March. Image: Introduction
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