The National Transplant Games will be held at Grand Valley State University.
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) - Nearly 1,200 athletes from 46 states will be in Grand Rapids the last week of July but what makes them so special is that they've all had an organ transplant.
Spectrum Health will be sponsoring the games. They've performed 18 heart transplants since their program started in November of 2010.
The National Transplant Games will be held at Grand Valley State University. The competition will range from track and field, to biking and golf, over 17 different sports in all.
The Chairman of the Transplant Games of America Bill Ryan, says the opening ceremonies will be held at the Van Andel Arena and will mimic that of the Olympic opening ceremonies. "It's going to be a very moving ceremony where the teams will march in together with their donor families as well as their athletes and it's quite a moving procession," says Ryan.
The Transplant Games have been going on for 22 years and their purpose is to bring awareness to organ donation. Right now there are over 110,000 people on waiting lists in the United States.
By Valerie Lego