Wednesday, September 14, 2011

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—In late August, the West Michigan Sports Commission said it will host the Transplant Games of America to take place July 28-31, 2012, at Grand Valley State University.

The purpose of the Transplant Games of America is to spread the message about the importance of organ donation and the second chance of life.

“We applaud all efforts that help create awareness about giving the gift of life,” said Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson Johnson. “With 3,000 people in Michigan alone on waiting lists for organs, the need is critical. So many lives could be saved.”

Tentative sporting events include: 5K run, badminton, basketball, cycling, golf, swimming, table tennis, tennis, track & field and volleyball. The only events that will not be held on GVSU’s campus are bowling and racquetball which will be located at different venues.

Since 1990, the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) hosted a biennial Olympic-style event to showcase the success of transplantation, promote health and fitness for transplant recipients and recognize and honor donor families and living donors. However, in May, the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) suspended the 2012 U.S. Transplant Games.

"For 20 years the NKF U.S. Transplant Games have educated the public about the life-saving power of organ donation and dramatically demonstrated that those with transplants can and do lead normal and active lives,” NKF CEO John Davis said in a news release. “But the Games represent a multi-million dollar expense for the foundation that also requires a significant commitment of staff resources.

"Now, when most Americans view transplantation as almost routine surgery that restores life, we will re-examine the format and financial structure of the Games, to achieve maximum impact and to ensure sustainability going forward,” he continued. “As always, we will work with a range of constituents and supporters to accomplish this."

Transplant Games of America founder TJ Maciak was adamant in continuing the games. “These Transplant Games are special to many people. The games are like a big transplant family reunion and due to the way the event was originally cancelled for 2012; I could not sit back and do nothing. I made it my own personal mission to try to find a way to make these games happen. and I knew West Michigan would be perfect community to pull this amazing feat off,” Maciak said.

“You Have the Power to Donate Life – Sign-up today! to become an organ and tissue donor
Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”
Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register
New Zealand, register at Organ Donation New Zealand
South Africa,
United States,
United Kingdom, register at NHS Organ Donor Register
Your generosity can save or enhance the lives of up to fifty people with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants (see allotransplantation). One tissue donor can help by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves
Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ or tissue transplant. Organs can save lives, corneas renew vision, and tissue may help to restore someone's ability to walk, run or move freely without pain. Life Begins with You

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