I am alive today and able to compete because of my cousin and donor Darlene (aka: Kimi), whose gift saved my life and unexpectedly gave me a second family. The Transplant Games have been part of my life since 2005. Attending has given me that second family, each of them with a different and unique story. But we are all survivors and being with them inspires me to continue my athletics and stay healthy. Though age sometimes has a funny way of trying to stop me!
The Transplant Games provide an opportunity to show other people what life can be like after a transplant. They allow donors and donor families to “see” what their amazing gift has meant. Personally, my most memorable moment came at the 2010 Games in Madison, WI. I was awarded the Jerry Cound Outstanding Female Athlete Award, even though I managed to tear my Achilles tendon in my last event and had to be carried to the stage. My mom and brother were there with me and I was so proud. I only wished Darlene could’ve been there. We joke about it now…she didn’t hesitate to donate her kidney but she is terrified to fly. I know she was there in spirit. As much as I look forward to the Transplant Games every year, meeting donors, donor families and other recipients is the biggest reward. For me, the Transplant Games have always been a true celebration of life