A Polish-born Lake in the Hills mother of two teens and entrepreneur running a tea company and two gourmet tea shops in Chicago has a pretty full plate. But that hasn’t stopped Agnieszka (Agnes) Rapacz from training with a master’s swim team in Algonquin two to three times a week year-round so she can compete on the Polish team at the upcoming European Dialysis and Transplant Games in Krakow in August.
Rapacz, 39, will be joining other transplant survivors from Poland and across Europe to demonstrate the benefits of successful organ transplantation and increase organ donation rates. In fact, she began competing around the globe at the World Transplant Games after reading about them in a Mayo Clinic magazine at her annual checkup in Rochester, Minnesota, where she received her kidney transplant in 2002.
Before heading to Poland next month, Rapacz is traveling to Houston, TX in mid-July for Transplant Games of America. Rapacz, who has won gold, silver and bronze medals at other Transplant Games, will be swimming in the 50 meters and 100 meters freestyle and breast stroke events.
When Rapacz was 28, she woke one day short of breath and went to see a new doctor. He took a blood test and sent her to the hospital immediately, where she was put on dialysis. Both kidneys had failed because of a virus, she was told. After 11 months on dialysis, her sister donated a kidney to her.
Rapacz’s Mayo transplant specialists, who have several other patients participating in transplant games, are cheering Rapacz on. In fact, one of Rapacz’s primary transplant doctors, Fernando Cosio, MD, videotaped a message to wish her well in the games.