Athlete Profile

Name: Ray Gabel

Age: 29

Transplant: Heart, 1991

Team: Team Mo-Kan (Missouri and Kansas)

Hometown: Overland Park

Event(s): Swimming (Relay), Track (Relay and Long Jump), and Raquetball (Singles and Doubles)

I am participating in the 1996 U.S. Transplant Games because of the wonderful opportunity to live my "Second Chance" to the fullest. The Games allow the public to see the success and importance of organ and tissue donation. Considering that there are more than 47,000 people waiting in the United States alone and nine to ten people die each day waiting for a life saving transplant, I feel very fortunate One of my main reasons for participating in the Games is to honor my donor and donor Family, for without them, my new life would not have been possible.

I have participated in four Transplant Games: two U.S. summer games, one winter, and one international. Each one of the Games has been special to me. Every time, you get to meet someone new and enjoy the camaraderie and competion. I have been fortunate to win some is in the past, but I truly believe just getting there is important. To be able to compete again after my heart transplant five and half years ago, I feel blessed. I needed a heart transplant due to idiopathic Cardiomyopathy. I went from playing racquetball, running, skiing etc. to not even being able to make it across the room. I was working for U.P.S. at the time, I then had to go on medical leave and after waiting seven months I got called on Valentine's Day 1991 for my transplant.

My involvement with the Games has been multi-level. Nationally, I am on the Transplant Games planning committee.. Locally, I am Captian of Team Mo-Kan (Missouri and Kansas). This year I will be on a couple of Relay teams in swimming and track; also I will be playing racquetball singles and doubles and track (individual).

Presently, I am employed full time as Community Education Coordinator at the Midwest Organ Bank, Inc., which is the federally designated organ and tissue procurement agency that provides services to all of Kansas and the western two thirds of Missouri.

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Last modified: 11 May 2000