The countdown has begun for the departure of local athlete Michelle Hounslow to the 24th World Transplant Games, being held in Perth, Australia from Apr. 15 to 21.

The SLS Centre is rallying the community around Michelle, a member of Canada's swim team, and is inviting people to drop by and sign a banner that will be accompanying her to Perth. They've also created a pop-up of her that's in the main lobby of the centre that also promotes the upcoming Organ Donation Awareness Day on Apr. 7.

SLS Centre experience director Catriona Hill says the banner will be available for signing starting tomorrow (Mar. 25) at the centre. The banner reads "Cochrane Proud, Go Michelle!" with a big maple leaf on it.

"It's an opportunity for members of the community to show support for Michelle by signing this banner that she'll be able to take with her and have on display to show her Cochrane pride. We'll have it as a long-term souvenir of the support she has for the community and as a celebration of what it is that she's doing."

Michelle was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease at a young age and had three decades of dealing with health issues before receiving a kidney transplant in 2018.

Michelle is no stranger to the World Transplant Games. In 2019, she earned five medals in Newcastle, England for Canada.