Local athletes competed hard and won big at the Donate Life Transplant Games of America, an Olympic styled multi-sport event celebrating the organ, eye and tissue donors and their recipients from across the country.
Team NorCal -- managed by San Ramon’s Donor Network West -- was the big winner at the games, where 37 athletes from northern and central California took home 60 gold medals, 37 silver, and 23 bronze (the most amount of medals won by any of the competing teams).
“We are very proud of every member of the team—athletes and donor family members. Our athletes trained very hard, motivated by their desire to pay tribute to their donors,” said Beverly Mayer, marketing manager of Donor Network West and Team NorCal’s Captain in a statement. “This is way more than an athletic event; it is a way to promote organ and tissue donation and to celebrate the Gift of Life.”
In total team NorCal had over 100 participants in its delegation as athletes, support staff and family members.
The Transplant Games -- which team NorCal has participated in since 1980 -- took place in Salt Lake City Aug. 2-7. It is a unique athletic event that exclusively hosts athletes who have undergone life saving transplant surgeries, wither as a donor or recipient.
More than an athletic event, the Donate Life Transplant Games increases awareness for the critical importance of life saving organ donations, and celebrates the individuals who have participated in surgeries.
This year's event in Salt Lake City saw 1,142 athletes compete for over 40 teams from across as many states, regions and U.S. territories in one of the largest donor games in recent history. Events covered a variety of sports and competitions and included bowling, ballroom dancing, cycling, racquetball, swimming, tennis, track and field, volleyball and the youth Olympiad to name a few.
Competition events are open to organ, bone marrow, corneal and tissue transplant recipients as well as living donors. Athletes interested in joining the team for the 2020 games in New Jersey can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to Donor Network West, more than 10,000 people await a life-saving organ transplant in northern California and Nevada, the organization's primary areas of coverage. One organ donor can save up to eight people and a tissue donor can heal more than 75 other. Anyone can register as a donor at DonorNetworkWest.org or at the DMV.