Transplant Games A Deeply Moving Experience
By John Graham
July 14th, 2014
As a member of the Board of Directors of LifeGift-Houston, I knew of the great work being done by Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs) throughout the United States and especially of the fine work of LifeGift in Texas. What I knew only in part was the human life story behind each organ that is transplanted.
On Saturday, July 12, the Opening Ceremony of the 2014 Transplant Games of America at BBVA-Compass Soccer Stadium in Houston opened my eyes to the big picture — that 12,000 people are waiting for a life-saving transplant in Texas alone, and hundreds of thousands are waiting nationwide. During the ceremony, we heard stories of children and adults who had received what is called “the Gift of Life.” And, we heard the stories of families who had lost a loved one but gave permission for their loved one’s organs to be procured and transplanted. They said how meaningful it was for them to know their loved one’s organs were being used to save another person’s life.
The ceremony itself was much like the Olympics — one-by-one teams from across American entered the stadium. Team Alabama was first with some 50 organ recipients following their banner. They were followed by Arkansas with another large contigency. Some groups were large; others small. There were five recipients from Hawaii and 500 followed the Team Texas banner. It took over an hour and half for all the teams to enter the stadium and be seated. The largest group was the last, carrying a banner entitled Families of Donors. They were greeted with a roar of applause from the audience.
Most of us know something about organ transplantation and the miracles that are being done every day in America. Perhaps we could all learn more about the human story and the transformation that happens when a receipient receives “the Gift of Life.”
To learn more about the Transplant Games and Organ Procurement, go to LifeGift’s website at www.LifeGift.org and read this article that appeared in the Houston Chronicle by Kevin Meyer, President/CEO of LifeGift-Houston:
Over 32 % of Texans have signed to give their organs for transplantion. At LifeGift’s website you can sign up, too.
John K Graham, M.D., D.Min.