A local man who received a second lease on life with a heart transplant is celebrating it by competing in the 2020 World Transplant Winter Games.
The Winter Games are being held in Banff from February 23-28. Scott Ouellette, owner and operator of Jurassic Bark in Morrin is heading to the games to compete in curling.
This is Ouellette’s second time competing in the games. In 2011 he competed in golf.
“I always keep track of where they are, but it is tough to get away for the summer ones. The winter ones are normally in places like Switzerland, and this is one of the first times it has ever come to North America,” said Ouellette.
The Winter Games encompass 12 different sporting disciplines, including biathlon, curling, skiing events, and snowboarding.
The Mail brought readers Mr. Ouellette’s transplant story in 2013. In 2008, at the age of 28 he was living in Red Deer and one night he began having chest pains playing hockey. He played through the pain and finished the game. At 2 a.m. that evening he couldn’t stand the pain and was taken by ambulance to the Red Deer Hospital. He quickly learned he was having a massive heart attack and was airlifted by STARS to Foothills in Calgary.
“It basically killed the left side of my heart,” he said. He was put on a ventricular assist device but was told he would need a new heart.
It took 113 days to find a donor, and after 12-hours of surgery, the heart took.
In two months he was back at work and back on the golf course. That was nine years ago.
In 2011 he went to his first world games in Sweden and competed in golf, bowling, the 4X100 relay, table tennis, and the ball throw. In 2012 he competed in the Canada Games, winning three gold and bronze medals.
“I have been pretty lucky. Everything has been going well, I haven’t had any issues whatsoever,” he said.
Today he regularly curls in Drumheller and jumped at the opportunity to go to the games.
‘I’ve curled most of my life, so it’s not like it’s new to me,” he said.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun. I have lots of friends that are part of the transplant community.”
He explains for the games, you enter as an individual, and you are put with other players from Canada to compete. He says the games are allowing donor families and donors to compete, alongside recipients.
“You get a few more people out to compete, and a few more donors and donor families show up, which is actually quite nice because really, we owe our lives to them,” said Ouellette
This might not be his last games. In 2021 the Summer Games will be in Houston.
For more information on the games go to www.wtgf.org.