Last weekend my fiance and I had the awesome opportunity to volunteer for the Transplant Games of America cycling event. If you’re not familiar with the Transplant Games of America let me give you the quick intro from their website, “The Transplant Games of America is a multi-sport festival event for athletes who have undergone life-saving transplant surgeries and living donors. Competition is open to anyone who has received a solid organ transplant or bone marrow donation. More than just an athletic event, the Transplant Games of America highlights the critical importance of organ and tissue donation, while celebrating the lives of organ donors and recipients.”
Prior to volunteering, I was actually unfamiliar with the games myself. It was certainly an educational opportunity for me. So now, I’m passing it on to you! The event started off with a 5K time trial. I was the starter and Ben held the bikes, so we got to briefly talk with each athlete before they raced. Their ages ranged in age from 6 to nearly 70 years old, gear ranged from beach cruisers to $3,000 carbon frame road bikes. We saw aero bars and banana seats. For some this was their first race and others were veterans. They came from all over the US. One thing that was true for all was that they were smiling – happy and grateful to be there competing with friends. There was a big crowd, lots of support and you could totally feel the love. It was pretty amazing.
After the time trial, there was a 20K road race. The sprint to the finish was really tight. In fact, they had to use video footage to determine the top 10 places, it was so close.
We had an opportunity to talk with a lot of the athletes. One in particular stands out to me as an amazing woman who deserves acknowledgement. Her name is Jenny and she is legally blind. She raced the time trail by memorizing the course the week before with a guide. Jenny was there because she donated a kidney to a complete stranger. She said over PA “my kidney is living happily in Ohio”. Can you imagine? What a big, huge heart that woman has. Somebody is alive because of her generosity.
You can be as awesome as Jenny too and give the gift of life! Make sure that you’re registered as an organ donor. Here’s a link to register in Michigan http://www.giftoflifemichigan.org/become_a_donor. You can also check out my friend Trevor Coleman’s team Tri for Life http://www.donatelifetriathlon.com/ or “like” Tri for Life on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/TRI-for-Life-Triathlon-Team/93577829385.