Bryan’s Update – September 2009
Hi to all my friends at Austart Homes.
I arrived home yesterday from the World Transplant Games at the Gold Coast. It was an absolutely fantastic week with fellow transplant athletes from around the world. The Games attracted over 2,000 participants from 47 countries and featured a total of 14 sports including athletics, swimming, tennis, badminton, cycling and volleyball. All competitors taking part in the Games have received a life-saving organ transplant including heart, lung, liver, pancreas and kidney. Bone marrow recipients also take part. Competitors compete in their age group rather than against similar organ transplants, and I compete in the Senior Men’s category aged 30-39.
The swimming competition was held over two days, the 26th and 27th August, at the Chandler Aquatic Centre. My competition results included winning three bronze medals as summarised below:
|4 x 50m Men’s Medley Relay
|4 x 50m Men’s Freestyle Relay
| 50m Freestyle
Although I did not post any personal best times I'm happy with my overall results considering my unfortunate lead up to the games with several viruses.
I had fantastic support at the Gold Coast games with a large cheer squad including my wife Rachel, daughter Breanna, mum and dad, mother in law, two younger brothers, their partners and my two nephews. It was awesome being able to share this experience with my family and friends. The atmosphere at the games was electric with so many inspirational athletes from around the world, each with their own amazing story, competing and celebrating their second chance of life. For example, I met a young athlete Seth from Canada, who is a fellow heart transplant recipient. Seth had his heart transplant when he was one year old and he is now 11. He is fit and healthy and competing at the World Transplant Games, 10 years after his heart transplant.
The National and World Transplant Games have been a fantastic part of my motivation for keeping fit and healthy. Having these Games to look forward to, setting goals, and training towards makes them not only a great opportunity to meet other transplant recipients but also a healthy way to maximize my post transplant longevity and minimise the side-effects from many of my medications.
Austart Homes and MBF have played a major part in this experience through their generous sponsorship, allowing me to compete at the World Transplant Games in Bangkok Thailand in 2007, the National Transplant Games in Perth in 2008, and now the World Transplant Games on the Gold Coast in 2009. I sincerely thank Austart Homes and MBF for their generosity and support over the last two years.
I can now reset my goals towards training for next years National Transplant Games being held at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) in Canberra in October 2010, and then hopefully the World Transplant Games in Goteborg Sweden in June 2011 (fingers crossed).
Later this month, on the 24th September, I will be celebrating the 4th anniversary of my heart transplant. Thank you once again to my friends at Austart Homes for your support and encouragement.
Bryan's Update – May 2009
Hi to all my friends at Austart Homes.
I thought that I would give you an update on my recent activities. It's only 4 months until the 2009 World Transplant Games at the Gold Coast begin. The Games are being held from the 22nd until the 30th of August predominantly at venues in and around the Gold Coast. The swimming however is being held at the Chandler Pool in Brisbane on the 27th & 28th of August. I will be competing in the 50m, 100m and 400m Freestyle as well as the 50m Butterfly. I understand that Transplant Australia will be releasing ticketing for the Games events, including the swimming, during May 2009.
I have been training regularly with the Bold Park Aussie masters three times a week. We train in an outdoor 50m pool which gets a little fresh heading into the winter months – it's nice once you're in the pool though! I had a bit of a setback over the summer months when I strained my left shoulder possibly through over training. However, after regular physio and pilates my shoulder is feeling a lot better and isn't restricting my training.
Since my last update, we celebrated my daughter Breanna's first birthday which was very exciting. It's times like these that reinforce just how important organ donation is, as without my heart transplant it is very unlikely that either I our little miracle Breanna would be here.
On Sunday 5 April 2009, Samantha Riley and Michael Bohl (Stephanie Rice's coach) held a swimming training clinic in Brisbane for transplant athletes in the lead up to the World Games. I flew from Perth to Brisbane just to attend this clinic and to pick up some training techniques and goal-setting advice from Sam and Michael. The clinic was well worth the effort and I really appreciate the commitment of both Sam and Michael towards the games. More information from the clinic is on the World Games website:
So now it's time to dig in and do some serious training over the next four months in the lead up to the games. I'm really looking forward to the games and meeting fellow transplant athletes from around the world. Thank you once again to the generous support of the team at Austart Homes as well as my joint sponsor MBF.
I will continue to keep you updated in the lead up to the games.
Dear Charmaine and my friends at Austart Homes,
I have just walked in the door from competing at the National Transplant Games today in Perth, and I’m pretty exhausted.
I had a great meet obtaining Gold in all 5 of my individual events. In addition, I swam a PB in my 50m Freestyle which I was very happy with.
My results are summarized below:
||Gold (time 6:36)
||Gold (time ~ high 39)
||Gold (time 31.32) ** PB **
||Gold (time ~ 1:18)
||Gold (time ~ 41)
I was a little disappointed with my times in my 400m and 100m Freestyle which were faster than the last National games in Geelong, but a little slower than my World times from last year. This is likely indicative of a reduction in the volume of aerobic training compared to the lead up to the World games last year. However, this was made up for in the 50m Freestyle where I bettered my previous best time by over a second, which I attribute to increased strength work in the gym.
I can now re-set my goals to the World Games next year on the Gold Coast (www.worldtransplantgames09.com) which are approximately 10 months away, in August 2009.
Thank you once again to the generous support of the team at Austart Homes.
Bryan's Update - November 2007
I thought it was time that I updated my valued sponsors of my recent activities. Since my very successful visit to Thailand in September for the World Transplant Games my life has been very hectic to say the least.
I am now getting into training for the National Transplant Games that are being held in Perth in October 2008. This is only 11 months away and will come around before we know it I’m sure.
My wife Rachel and I have some exciting news - she is pregnant with our first child. Rach is now 24 weeks pregnant and due in mid-March 2008. This is the best news that we could have ever received and we are both very excited about the life changing experiences we have to look forward to and enjoy.
Another major change in our life is that we have relocated to Perth from Adelaide for work reasons, as the company I work for closed down its office in Adelaide. This will provide an exciting change, and I’m sure that we will enjoy our time in Perth.
Therefore I have had to leave my trusted Masters swim club back in Adelaide. However, this provides a great opportunity to join a new club in Perth. I’m sure that a new club will provide a fresh approach to my training and may assist me to defend my 6 gold medal haul in the pool at the last National Transplant Games (7 gold in total).
A new swimming club will also provide me the opportunity to spread the good word about Austart Homes to its members through word of mouth and my branded training merchandise.
I am currently training with the Victoria Park Masters club while I am transition to find a replacement full time swimming club.
Although I have the Nationals next year, my long term training goal is focused on the next World Transplant Games which are being held on the Gold Coast in 2009. These games are likely to be the biggest WTG ever with over 5000 transplant competitors and supporters.
I look forward to my ongoing association with Austart Homes at next years nationals and the world transplant games at the Gold Coast.
I would like to thank ASH for your generous support, and will continue to keep you updated on my activities in the future.
Bye for now
Bryan and Rachel Williams with there beautiful
new addition to there family Breanna Clare Williams.
A dream come true for Bryan and his wife Rachel.
Hello to all my friends at Austart Homes. Time again, to provide you all an update.
As you know, our little daughter Breanna was born in March. Breanna is a little miracle and brings us no end of joy. Breanna is now almost 4 months old which is amazing, as it seems only yesterday that she was born. I have attached an updated photo of the family.
We are still enjoying our new life in Perth.
My swimming training is picking up again after reducing my training around the time of Breanna’s birth. I am training twice a week with the Carine and Bold Park Masters Swimming Clubs. I am also fitting in gym/weight sessions early in the morning before work three times a week to improve my strength. Hopefully this will pay off in the pool.
I entered my first Masters swimming carnival on the weekend to gauge my times in the lead up to the Perth National Transplant Games. My times were comparable to my times at last years World Transplant Games, which has confirmed that I am on track with my training.
The National Transplant Games this year are being held in Perth, October 4-11, 2008.
and more information at: www.transplant.org.au
At the National games I will be competing in the 400m, 100m and 50m Freestyle and 50m Backstroke and Butterfly.
The world games next year are being held at the Gold Coast, August 22 – 30, 2009: www.worldtransplantgames09.com
The World Games at the Gold Coast next year are expected to be a massive event with a large turn out of international competitors.
Thank you once again for your continued support. My ASH jacket is proving very valuable during the cold mornings at the gym, and even colder evenings poolside!
Bryan & Family
After the games - August 2007
Here is Bryan's feedback from the Word Transplant Games:
I have now completed my 2 day swimming meet in Bangkok for the World Transplant Games.
I won Gold in the 400m Freestyle beating my personal best (PB) by 19 seconds with a time of 6:27.
I beat my PB in the 50m Backstroke and came 4th, less than 0.1 seconds off bronze, with a time of 39.49.
I beat my PB in my 50m Butterfly by 5.5 seconds, and came 5th, with a time of 37.46.
I beat my PB in my 100m Freestyle by 1.6 seconds and came 5th, with a time of 1:16.97.
I beat my PB in the 50m Freestyle by 2.2 seconds and came 5th out of the 3 heats with a time of 32.33.
We also came 5th in our 4x50m Medley Relay team out of the two heats. I swam the backstroke leg.
We also came 4th in the 4x50m Freestyle team relay out of the two heats.
So I am very happy with my results posting PB's in every race and winning gold.
Bryan Williams is a 33 year old heart transplant recipient who has faced many challenges in his life and is accustomed to overcoming adversity.
His story began from a very young age when at the age of 12 months he was diagnosed with a life threatening cancer and only given a 30% chance of survival. The inoperable tumour of the pelvic region was treated with six weeks of radiotherapy and two years of chemotherapy, which saved Bryan’s life. However this high dose treatment was destined to take a toll later in life.
At the age of 9, Bryan was diagnosed with Avascular Necrosis of the left hip (Perthes). Treatment included several years in a wheelchair to ensure zero weight bearing, over ten osteotomy operations on his hip and a leg lengthening procedure to stretch his leg by 7cm. These challenges failed to stop Bryan from graduating from High School and taking out numerous awards for both sporting and academic achievement. This proved a strong foundation for further studies at Adelaide University.
Unfortunately at the age of 20, Bryan was diagnosed with heart failure, Dilated Cardiomyopathy, which he fought for twelve years. His fight included the management of associated problems such as atrial fibrillation and bradycardia, which required the implantation of a biventricular pacemaker and internal defibrillator (ICD).
Despite these challenges, Bryan managed to complete 3 university degrees including a Masters degree in Environmental Engineering and an MBA, and has a successful career in the mining industry.
Eventually however, Bryan went into end stage heart failure where a life saving heart transplant was the only remaining course of action. After a successful heat transplant operation at Sydney’s St Vincent’s Hospital in 2005, Bryan had many post-operative complications including drug induced dementia, pneumonia, acute renal failure requiring dialysis, severe respiratory failure and multiple blood transfusions for blood loss and anaemia. After an intense 5 week stay in hospital Bryan was released and has not looked back.
Bryan took up swimming as a form of rehabilitation and his competitive nature took over when he heard about the National Transplant Games being held in Geelong, Victoria, in 2006. He set his goals and trained hard for the games, held on the eve of his first transplant anniversary. He exceeded all expectations with a medal haul of 7 gold and 1 silver medal. Six of these gold medals were in the pool.
Bryan has now refocussed on the World Transplant Games being held in Bangkok, Thailand, in August and September 2007. Bryan is proud to be associated with Austart Homes as his major sponsor for the World Games, and provided an inspirational motivational talk to the Austart Homes team at the annual franchisee luncheon.
Bryan attributes his success and achievements in the face of adversity to a positive attitude, goal setting and perseverance. He is certainly not one to give up when the odds are stacked against him. He is a firm believer that “challenges are an opportunity in disguise”.
Bryan is very thankful for his second chance at life and is living proof of the importance of organ donation, which he promotes at every opportunity.