Life was flowing along nicely for me in the summer of 2001. Exams were over, my second year as a student at DCU was complete and I had secured my first real job as a reporter with the Irish Sun. I was 19 years old.
Tabloid journalism was not for me, but it was an education in itself. Not just about how to write for an attention-deficient society, but also about what the majority in that society wish to read. Sex and tragedy. That was all that mattered.
There were many sad incidents that summer. I remember attending the funeral of a mother killed in a boating accident and phoning the home of a toddler who had been killed in a farm accident to see if in their hour of grief his parents might want to make a comment to a journalist. They didn't. Thank God.
In the midst of all this there loomed another event that was deemed by my editor to be worthy of attention. A good editor knows as much about human behaviour as any psychologist and my then boss knew that out of great sadness there could come a story of heroics that would be devoured by his readers. People like to read some optimism in their newspaper occasionally, especially on a friday or a saturday.
The Transplant Games were being held in Japan that year and I was sent along to the ALSAA to meet some of the team, get quotes about how they were overcoming the great challenges in their lives and write what they call a feel-good story.
I have little memory of what I wrote about the team back then, though it is probably in a scrapbook somewhere at home. I do know I had never heard of the Transplant Games before that day and it seemed a rather novel idea - something however that didn't really concern me because I was healthy and they were sick.
In 11 days, I will return to DCU as part of Transplant Team Ireland.
Funny how things turn out.