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Marvin brothers attend World Transplant Games in South Africa

Connor and Brock Marvin, third and second from right, recently particpated in the World Transplant Games in South Africa as members of the United States volleyball and golf (pictured) teams.

Connor and Brock Marvin, third and second from right, recently particpated in the World Transplant Games in South Africa as members of the United States volleyball and golf (pictured) teams.

— Local brothers Brock and Connor Marvin traveled to Durban, South Africa, to take part in the 14 Annual World Transplant Games.

“It was an incredible trip,” said Connor.

The boys arrived in South Africa July 21 and made it home Aug. 7.

The brothers, along with their father Walter “Smitty” Marvin and step-mother Margot Roemischer took the two-week trip to South Africa, spending the first week in Krueger National Park before continuing to Durban for the games.

Brock and Connor both suffer from a rare heart condition called familial dilated cardiomyopathy, a genetic heart muscle disease they were both born with that required them to receive heart transplants within a year and a half of each other. Brock received a heart transplant in December 2010 and Connor received his 15 months after his brother in March 2012.

The Marvins joined transplant survivors from all around the world.

“It was really cool to see all the athletes,” Connor said. “The first day we joined the American team for the volleyball games and later in the week we played golf, both partners and singles. The last few days we watched track.”

Before going to the Games, Connor said he and his family took a week to explore South Africa, going to Kruger National Park.

“We figured we would make it a vacation, we went out into the park and it was just a free range huge National Park,” Connor said. “I’ve been to Parc Safari but this was incredible.”

Connor said he got to see all of the “Big Five” animals which included leopards, lions, rhinoceros, elephants and buffalo while there.

“We rented a car and just drove for the entire day through park,” he said. “Just as we were leaving we got to see a leopard just a mile from the exit. I thought it was really great to see it and then when we told people they told us some locals had never even seen a leopard, so I guess it was pretty rare.”

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