GRAND RAPIDS TO CELEBRATE LIVING ORGAN DONORS AND RECIPIENTS WITH 2012 TRANSPLANT GAMES OF AMERICA
Event to raise awareness for the more than 114,000
individuals nationwide awaiting organ transplantation
GRAND RAPIDS - On Saturday, July 28, 2012, the West Michigan Sports Commission will kick off the 2012 Transplant Games of America in Grand Rapids. The Games, which highlight the need for organ donation and the importance of donor registries, will be held at Grand Valley State University and will run through Tuesday, July 31, 2012.
More than 1,000 athletes from 40 states will compete in the 2012 Games. These athletes, living organ donors and recipients, will participate in a number of sporting events, including a 5K run, badminton, basketball, bowling, cycling, golf, racquetball, swimming, table tennis, tennis, track & field and volleyball.
"The Transplant Games of America follows the tradition of the U.S. Transplant Games that were previously hosted by the National Kidney Foundation from 1990 to 2010," said Bill Ryan, chairman of the Transplant Games of America. "They give organ donors and recipients the opportunity to celebrate their gift through sport. They also serve as a meeting place for these individuals, a place where they can share their stories and goals with others who understand their experiences."
In addition to the 1,000 competitors, another 1,500 donor families and friends are expected to attend. According to the West Michigan Sports Commission, this influx of visitors to Grand Rapids could potentially produce more than $2 million in visitor spending.
"The impact of having the Transplant Games in Grand Rapids is clear," said Mike Guswiler, director of the West Michigan Sports Commission. "Athletes from all over the country will converge in our city to celebrate the gift of organ donation. They will stay in our hotels, eat at our restaurants and use our athletic facilities. This is a fantastic opportunity for our community and we are extremely proud to be the Games' host."
More than just an athletic event, the Transplant Games of America highlights the critical importance of organ and tissue donation. Despite continuing advances in medicine and technology, organ transplants remain the best solution to many medical problems and the demand greatly outpaces the supply available.
"There are more than 114,000 individuals nationwide waiting for an organ transplant," said Richard Pietroski, CEO of Gift of Life Michigan. "Their best hope for a second chance at life is for people to join the donor registry through Gift of Life Michigan or the Secretary of State. The athletes at the Transplant Games of America compete not just for themselves but in honor of their donor and the precious gift they have received. We encourage everyone to be a hero by registering to be an organ, eye and tissue donor."
Courtesy: Transplant Games of America