Going for gold close to home

The 2010 Winter Olympics are taking place close to home this year in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. While enjoying the Olympics, my thoughts will naturally turn to the 2010 U.S. Transplant Games. The games take place July 30 through Aug. 4 in Madison, Wis.

The U.S. Transplant Games are Olympic-style events for transplant recipients to compete for gold, silver and bronze medals in 13 sporting events. Opening and closing ceremonies along with other celebrations make the U.S. Transplant Games an extremely amazing experience as you realize the health challenges participants have overcome to be there.

Recipients of hearts, lungs, livers, kidneys, pancreases, intestines and bone marrow have an opportunity meet other recipients and their families, celebrate life through athletic competitions and promote the success of donation and transplantation.

The events are designated for transplant recipients, living donors and donor families, transplant supporters and all other family members and friends. I’ve been fortunate to be involved in the games since 1998, shortly after I received a heart transplant.

Prior to my transplant, I had difficulty walking more than a few feet without becoming short of breath and faint. Since my transplant, I work, participate in sporting events and enjoy time with my wife and three young sons. All things I would never have experienced without a heart transplant.

Do you know a transplant recipient or donor family? Encourage them to participate or attend.

For more information regarding the Transplant Games, visit kidney.org/news/tgames/index.cfm.

-Tom Demski, Transplant Services manager, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

Learn more about Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin at chw.org.

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