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She's back in the swim


Kidney recipient strikes gold at Transplant Games



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Transplant Games teammates James McBride and Kathy McCutcheon, both of Springfield, with Robin after a medal ceremony. Courtesy photo. (click for larger version)
August 10, 2010
STURBRIDGE — Ever since she got a kidney transplant earlier this year, Robin Lataille has had a new lease on life. She also has a neckful of Olympic-like medals to prove it.

Between July 30 and Aug. 4, Lataille joined 18 other people representing New England in the U.S. Transplant Games, a mini-Olympics for people who have had transplants, their donors and family members.

"It's supposed to promote showing the athletes can do things they didn't think were possible before the transplant," she said. "… Every time I swim laps, I don't get tired. I'm able to do what I did for 30 years."

Until she got seriously ill — about 8 years of gradually progressive kidney disease led to congestive heart failure and other issues last year — Lataille had been working at the Y preschool and teaching swimming. Although her work schedule limits her time for the latter to one private student, she's at least able to do it again.

But even before she got a new kidney, while at the hospital in spring 2009, she had seen the transplant games and knew she wanted to go. Her social worker Lisa Glasheen almost immediately predicted she'd make it.

Sure enough, she did seven months later. That was two months before she was technically eligible; to do so, she needed special permission.

In Wisconsin, Lataille found around 1,200 participants in the same situation she is, ages 2-80, putting their newly renovated bodies through swim laps, volleyball games, track and field games and other sports as nearly 4,000 supporters cheered them on. For her, it led to four medals — two gold, a silver and a bronze. The first was for her part in the New England team's victorious first attempt at a women's 200m medley relay team; the other three were solo accomplishments in 100m breaststroke, 50m breaststroke and 100m individual medley.

See Thursday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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