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Live on TransWeb...1998 US Transplant Games

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A Memorable Moment
by Jim Gleason

Everyone asks "What is your most memorable moment from the Games?" and there are so many that the answer to that isn't as easy as it first sounds. But I have finally settled on one.

It happened on the last day, at the closing ceremonies, as my wife, Jay, and daughter, Mary, sat there in the baseball stadium at Ohio State University in the warm summer evening - the full moon was rising and the ceremonies were so very special - friends everywhere - Delaware Valley Transplant Program staff and friends sitting around us - and then I looked down and saw them.


To take you back: after the '96 Games in Salt Lake City, I had returned back to the Hospital of the University of PA where I had received my heart transplant back in late '94. I had appeared in full Team Philadelphia uniform to share the excitement of the games with those waiting in beds and on life support - trying to give them the vision of a future when they too might be attending themselves. We had laughed as I demonstrated (even by standing up on a chair to illustrate) my almost falling into the pool from the slanted starting block in the swimming event in front of the crowds (and embarrassed family). A number of them responded saying they would be there in '98 with me next time.

Now return to the present: Can you imagine my emotions as I looked down to the section below in those stands Saturday night and saw a whole row of those patients (and their beautiful wives and children) from 4 different local transplant centers? Each had become close friends over the past two years, had received their new hearts (and in Sara's case, also a right lung), struggled back from the bedridden patients I had found in those hospitals to vibrant atheletes (some much better than others, of course) now enjoying the very excitement I had tried to convey back two years ago. Anthony, the young muscle builder with the medal hanging around his neck (admiring wife and kids next to him); Sara, veteran of the grueling bicycle race that only two people were able to complete - she came in 2nd so no medal because too few competed, but what a winner; Hal who had discovered my book before he had to enter the hospital and his long wait to get that heart; Ingrid and Kristen, those lovely sisters who received their hearts just months apart from each other and have done so much to help promote the success of transplantation story; Joe, the local coach (and his beautiful family); Miriam (SWEET16) who is now a grandmother with her 16 year old heart helping out everywhere at the Games - and so many more I am missing.

The emotions flowed out in tears of pride as I looked down at so many friends who were here - and they waved together - to me up there in the stands looking down over "my new family" - what a memory. Hope you all can "feel it." with me through this sharing....







For one rare moment, most of the roving TransWeb webcast team assembles for a quick picture on the pitcher's mound. Several members of the team took a celebratory lap around the bases.


See also: page 1 - page 3 - page 4


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Last modified: 11 May 2000