Help Maria reach the World Transplant Games


By Donna Martin

MARIA LUCAS is a long-term Tumbulgum resident who was born with Cystic Fibrosis.

In June 2014, Maria (49) had a collapsed lung caused by her condition. On December 30, 2014, Maria gratefully received a double lung transplant.

One week after her surgery, Maria’s new left lung was removed due to medical complications. Before and after her surgery, Maria came close to losing her battle from Cystic Fibrosis, but she held on in the hope that a successful transplant donor would be found and she would regain her health and a better quality of life.

Maria’s recovery was very slow and she remained in hospital for 5 months recuperating.
She is eternally grateful to her donor family for their gift and Maria is making the most of her second chance at life.

Maria will be competing in the 21st Summer ‘World Transplant Games’ for Australia. These inspirational Games will be held in the beautiful Mediterranean port city of Málaga in Spain from Sunday 25 June – Sunday 02 July, 2017.

The competitors in the games are unique in that each one of them is alive and well because of a successful organ transplant.

Maria’s purpose in competing is to visibly demonstrate the benefits of successful organ transplantation, work to increase public awareness of its success and thereby increase organ donation rates, as well as promote the full rehabilitation and well-being of participants.

Although Maria has never been a ‘sporty’ person, she took up Table Tennis as part of her rehabilitation regime. Playing sport is out of Maria’s comfort zone, however she feels she owes her donor to embrace the precious gift of life that she has received.

Each Monday, Maria trains at the Uniting Church Hall at Kingscliff where she is well supported in her quest. Maria will compete in both single and mixed fixtures in Spain. She is determined to win, practicing hard and very happy with her progress.

In the past, Maria has worked at the Tumbulgum School as a Teachers Aid and was involved in Story Dogs, a not-for-profit organisation literacy program. Story Dogs is based on the successful American literacy program: Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.) which was launched in 1999 in Utah, USA, as the first comprehensive literacy program built around the appealing idea of children and young adolescents reading to dogs. Unfortunately, Maria is unable to return to school duties due to the high risk of cross contamination.

A Trivia Fundraising Night is well underway to help raise the needed funds for Maria to attend the World Transplant Games. Money raised will be used to help with airfares, accommodation, travel insurance, equipment and the Australian team uniform.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for people to donate to Maria’s attendance at the Games:

Let’s get behind Maria all the way and help her to achieve her goal.


There has already been a wonderful response from the community with tables filling fast – 14 tables of 6 have been allocated so far – a maximum of 20 tables are available, so register soon!

Some more details on the night;
• TCA endorsed and facilitated event – all proceedings go towards Maria’s fundraising.
• Date: Tuesday, February 28.
• Venue: Tumbulgum Tavern.
• Time: Registration from 6pm.
• Trivia Time: 7pm.
• Cost: $5:00pp.
• Donation: Each person also to donate an item for their table’s gift basket theme (see list allocations and suggestions below – consult with your team captain).
• Tables of 6 – Booking required.
• Food / Meals – Tumbulgum Tavern is donating 25 per cent from each food order (Guests will receive a slip to give to cashier).
• One Captain per table for contact purposes, scoring on the night and the person to be responsible to facilitate the gift basket with their team members.
• Gift baskets will be awarded to winning tables during the night.
• Raffles will also be drawn during the night.
• Master of Ceremonies: Steve Herriott.