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Team Arizona

What is the most interesting thing about your team this year?

Team Arizona 1998 is much more than recipient athletes and their friends and families. It also includes donor families and procurement professionals as part of the mix - very important parts of the mix. Team Arizona 1996 took a total of 17 athletes to the '96 Games held in Salt Lake City, Utah. Two members from that team were not only recipients, but also had suffered the loss of a loved one and were also donor family members. I, John Landers, the team manager, am both a heart recipient and donor family member and participated in the donor family program provided by the National Kidney Foundation's National Donor Family Council. Whoever, thought to put this program together with the Games should be rewarded. To be able to share with the other donor families as not only a donor family member, but as a recipient, was a great experience for all I believe. Many understood for the first time the desperate fight for life that many recipients deal with. Also, in the same program was another member of Team Arizona who is both a kidney recipient and a donor father. The donor family program helped him understand and move forward in his grief process. He and I know: without donor families we do not exist. It was of great importance that we bring as many donor families to the 1998 U. S. Transplant Games as possible and give them the same if not a better opportunity to be a part of the triumph of the human spirit. We have done well in this regard.

What is unique about your team?

What may separate Team Arizona 1998 from other teams has been our wish to make sure that donor families were included and made to feel as an integral part of the team. Together recipients and donor families have worked together to raise the necessary funds to allow us to bring not just athletes and a member of a donor family, but to bring all of the family and friends who have been our support system from the beginning. Whether recipient athlete or donor family member, the support of family and friends have seen us through the worst of times. Now, we all can share in the best of times.

Athletes, Donor Family Members, and Team Supporters:

Ric Anderson - a kidney recipient of less than 2 years. Has returned to work and with his wife Renai they have two small children.

Mary Armstrong - liver recipient. Her liver function was damaged as she fought to win her battle against breast cancer. Retired with her husband.

Sheri Atkins - donor mother. Her son prematurely ended his life and the donation took place in Arizona. Sheri lives in Santa Fe, N.M. She has been adopted by Team Arizona 1998.

Mike Austin - liver recipient. Mike is the Director of Emergency Services for the state of Arizona. Mike competed in the 1996 Games in golf and will do the same in 1998.

Briana Bobertz - kidney recipient. Briana is the youngest athlete (14) competing for Team Arizona 1998. She will be competing for the first time in the Games and hopes to make her mark in the swimming events.

Chris Branch - donor mother. Her young son was a kidney recipient, but due to complications his fight was lost.

Louis Commisso - heart recipient. Attending first Games and will compete in racquetball.

Jack Cremin - donor son, and the Executive Director of the federally designated OPO in the state of Arizona, Donor Network of Arizona. Father was research donor.

Michael Fanta - kidney recipient. Was member of 1996 Team Arizona.

Mathew Fucci - kidney recipient. Will be participating in the Games for the first time.

Marsha Hall/Stacey Higman - donor mother and sister. Lost her 19 year old son/brother when he was thrown from a vehicle. Both women have been strong advocates of donation. They will be attending the games together and both will compete in the "Dash For Donation" in memory of Steven Hall.

Harold Jones - kidney recipient. Will be competing in first Games.

Sara Pace Jones - living related donor. Donated kidney to her mother Kathi Pace also a member of Team Arizona. Sara will be accompanied by her mother, and by her less than one-year-old daughter, Mallory.

Karen Klostreich - organ recovery coordinator, Donor Network of Arizona. Organ recovery coordinators deal with the donor families, but do not always have a chance to see the results of their work.

James Kluger- heart recipient. Will be competing in his third Games and will participate in tennis.

Jason Kowalzyk - double lung recipient. Twenty-two-year-old cystic fibrosis patient attending his first games and will be competing in everything he possible can based on Games Four event policy.

Rick, Linda and Whitney LaVaux - donor family. Son and brother Branden was an organ donor in Arizona, but live in Illinois. Team Arizona has adopted this family.

Sharon and Phillip Loggia - Sharon is the recipient of a living-nonrelated kidney. The donated kidney came from her husband, Phillip. Sharon will be taking part in several events and Phillip will participate in the living-donor program.

Tom Mansell - liver recipient. Tom will be taking part in his first Games and will focus on tennis.

Sally Metzger - liver recipient. Sally competed and won a medal in the 1996 Games. Shortly, after her return from the games she was diagnosed with cancer and is fighting hard for her life again, but she is returning to defend her medal. She will be cheered on by her three children.

Debbie Miller - kidney/pancreas recipient. She will be competing in her first Games with the support of her husband Craig. She has endured some problems since transplant, but continues to deal with them with a strong spirit.

Kathi Pace - kidney recipient. Kathi received her kidney from her daughter Sara and will enjoy the Games with her daughter and her new granddaughter, Mallory.

Natalie Phillips - heart/double- lung, and kidney recipient. Natalie competed in the 1996 Games and won a bronze medal. Since that time her lungs became infected and the drugs to kill the infection damaged her kidney function. Attending the Games and the Living Donor Program, will be her mother Lisa Nickell, her living related donor.

Laurie Pajak - donor mother. Laurie lost her young son when, he was hit by an automobile. She will be attending the Donor Family Program.

Marcel Pincince - Donor Family Services Coordinator, Donor Network of Arizona.

Linda Roush - kidney recipient/donor wife. Received her kidney a couple of years ago and just recently lost her husband suddenly.

Karl Schact - heart recipient. Karl will be competing in his first games and will participate in the cycling events.

Paul Sherrett - liver recipient. Paul will be competing in his first Games and is just about one year posttransplant. He plans to compete in the field events.

Michael Scozzaro - kidney recipient (2). Mike is an accomplished swimmer and has won medals in previous Games and at the World Games.

Glenna Shapiro - Executive Director of the Arizona Kidney Foundation.

Alan Shipley - heart recipient. Alan is 2 years posttransplant and will be competing in his first Games. He will be competing in swimming as well as field events.

David Stanton - kidney recipient/donor father. David has attended all of the U.S. Transplant Games. He has served as team manager and this year he is Team Arizona captain. David received his kidney nearly 10 years ago and just over four years ago became a donor father when his daughter was killed in an automobile accident. He will be attending the Games with his oldest son, Joe Stanton. Dave participated in the first Donor Family Program at the 1996 Games.

William Strnad - heart recipient. Bill has competed in most of the U. S. Games and in two World Games. Bill is another former Team Arizona Manager.

Bob Sutton - heart recipient. Bob is the oldest member of Team Arizona 1998 and will be competing in golf. Bob also competed for Team USA in the World Games in 1997.

Jennifer Lauer Tanner - Organ Recovery Coordinator, Donor Network of Arizona. The Games will provide a chance for her to interact with recipients and donor families.

Nancy Taylor - donor wife. Nancy lost her husband very suddenly to a brain aneurysm. As a trained paramedic she tried valiantly to save her husband's life. She is now the single parent to their young son.

Debbie Thomas - kidney recipient. Debbie received her donated kidney from her mother Helen Thomas. Debbie will be participating as an athlete while her mother participates in the living donor program.

Lynne Wellman - donor daughter. Lynne lives in Massachusetts, but has been adopted by Team Arizona. Lynne made a very difficult decision to honor her mother's wishes in spite of her family not agreeing. She attended the donor family program in 1996, accompanied the U.S. team to the World Games in 1997 and is now part of Team Arizona 1998.

Connie Wilkins - kidney recipient. Connie received a kidney donated by her aunt, Pam Lindeen, just over a year ago. She will compete in tennis and her aunt will participate in the Living Donor Program.

Lee Woods - heart recipient. Lee has attended all U.S. Transplant Games and will be competing in these Games out on the links.

John Landers - Team Arizona 1998 manager, heart recipient, and donor family member. The 1998 games will be the second attended and will compete in doubles racquetball. Since the 1996 Games, John has been asked to serve on NKF's TransAction Council Executive Committee and the National Donor Family Executive Committee. He was also asked to serve on the National Donor Family Program Committee for the 1998 Games.

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Last modified: 11 May 2000