Athlete Profile

Name: Dick Hawkins

Age: 49

Transplant: Liver, 1994

Team: Team Upper Midwest

Hometown: Maple Grove, MN

Event(s): Tennis (men's doubles and mixed doubles)

I received a liver transplant at the University of Minnesota on March 23, 1994. Developed primary sclerosing cholangitis after having ulcerative colitis. This eventually caused cirrhosis. I am 49 and married to Shirlee W. Hawkins, a real estate agent with Burnet Realty. I honestly believe that I would not have had the transplant without her support. She is also my best friend.

My initial interest in the Games came from the fact that I have always been athletic and competitive. But, my horizon has been expanded. As with the "real Olympics," the Games are important. But seeing old friends and making new ones has become a new way of life - both for Shirlee and myself. We are now sending e-mail to people all over the U.S.A. as well as Germany and Australia. It's great!

As editor and writer of TROM Topics (quarterly newsletter for Transplant Recipients Organization of Minnesota), I have conducted interviews with many prominent people in the transplant community. We are not only promoting TROM, but we are also promoting organ donation in general. After all, that's what this is all about. I have also recently created Web pages for the Internet which promotes TROM, TROM Topics and the Games.

I am playing tennis in Salt Lake City. Singles, men's doubles and mixed doubles. My men's doubles partner, Jim Granger, and I were fortunate enough to win a gold medal in Manchester, England, in 1995 at the World Games. We played in the 45-and-over age bracket. In the U.S. Games, there are no age brackets in doubles tennis. So, we know we have a tough road ahead of us. I have never played with Carol Inman, my mixed doubles partner. But we are flying out two days before the Games begin in order to practice. Carol and I are both excited about playing together. Win or lose, we will have a great time.

On a more sober note, I am one of about five or six in Minnesota who had a transplant and whose primary sclerosing cholangitis returned. We all realize that each day on earth could be our last. But with the return of this disease, I know that each Games could be my last. That is why I am determined to play my best - both on and off the court in Salt Lake City.

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Last modified: 11 May 2000