Stephen Farmer of View Royal is competing in the Self Transcendence Triathlon on Aug. 2 at Elk Lake. Farmer had a liver transplant in 2005 and will compete at the World Transplant Games in Argentina later in August.

From transplant recipient to triathlete

View Royal's Steve Farmer focused on Self-Transcendence Triathlon

It was back in 2005 that Steve Farmer suddenly felt ill. His belly swelled to an alarming size and the symptoms quickly led to a diagnosis of a failing liver.

He wasn’t an alcoholic. What he learned was that he’d been living his adult life with hepatitis C, for perhaps 25 years.

Just over 10 years later, Farmer is preparing for his first World Transplant Games (in Mar del Plata, Argentina, Aug. 23 to 30), and will compete in the Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence Triathlon on Aug. 2 at Elk Lake.

“(Looking back) I was tired at times, but I chalked that up to being tired,” said the View Royal resident. “And I learned a lot. Hep C gets a stigma around it that’s really untrue; it’s mostly everyday people who have it. A lot are baby boomers, which is why it’s so important for baby boomers to get checked.”

With a liver functioning at 10 per cent, Farmer was put on the list for a transplant. It took a year to receive one and another three years to recover fully.

“Once your transplant takes, then you can begin the 72-week interferon (Hep C) drug treatment, which is brutal, like having chemotherapy. Awful flu symptoms go on and on.”

Following that Farmer spent six years volunteering with the non-profit organization Hep C B.C., including a stint as president. “I really wanted to help build awareness and get the word out about Hep C.”

Eager to live a healthier lifestyle after the recovery, Farmer gravitated to triathlon and it has been an outlet.

“It’s social and it gives you a goal, same as the World Transplant Games. Once I have that on my calendar, it motivates me. I wasn’t sure about triathlon until I started with Tri Stars, who are so welcoming for all levels.”

He’s competed in the ‘virtual triathlon’ of the Canadian Transplant Games three times: 2006, 2012 and 2014. The 400-metre swim, 20-kilometre bike and 5K run are broken into separate events. By completing all three, you qualify for the triathlon event, which the 57-year-old won for his age bracket (50 to 59) at the last two Games.

The distances are nearly the same as the sprint distance of triathlon, with the addition of 350m in the swim portion. He’ll make the Self-Transcendence his fifth sprint triathlon on Aug. 2.

For Farmer, the race is a warmup for the Transplant Games, where he is excited about the idea of crossing paths with 1,500 people who have also experienced life-saving organ transplants.

July 28 was World Hepatitis Day ( For more information on the Self Transcendence triathlon visit

Just Posted

Horse carriage supporters to rally outside city hall

Owner of carriage company plans rally in response to Coun. Ben Isitt’s motion

UVic science and engineering research gets $18.8 million federal funding boost

Funding for engineering, science, sustainability research

Victoria woman competing for role as Maxim cover model

Winning model gets featured spread in magazine, cash price

Songbirds return to their roost in the West Shore

Tips, such as keeping roaming cats from ruffling any feathers, can attract more birds

VIDEO: Fun without sun: Hundreds enjoy Family Fest on Victoria Day

Families enjoy activities in Veterans Memorial Park

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of May 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Were you satisfied with the Game of Thrones series finale?

Millions gathered in front of their televisions Sunday night to watch the… Continue reading

Raptors beat Bucks 120-102 to even series at 2-2

Lowry pours in 25 as Toronto moves within two games of NBA Finals

Body of missing snowmobiler recovered from Great Slave Lake

Police confirm the body is that of one of three missing snowmobilers

Christmas morning burglar sentenced on Vancouver Island

Justin Redmond Feusse, 20, sentenced to 240 days in jail for Dec. 25 break-and-enter

So, do you know ‘Dave from Vancouver Island’?

Ontario man searching for fellow he travelled with in Europe 50 years ago

Toddler seriously injured after falling from Okanagan balcony

RCMP are investigating after a two-year-old boy fell from the balcony of an apartment in Kelowna

Cost jumps 35% for Trans-Canada Highway widening in B.C.

Revelstoke-area stretch first awarded under new union deal

Most Read