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Live on TransWeb...1998 US Transplant Games

All Finishers are Winners, by Bob Fox

At the Poetry Reading, by Nick Dean

See also:

Games Gazette Issue 1 and Issue 2

Audience Cheers Through Tough Day at Larkins, by Jim Gleason and Tanya Good

Bowling for Medals, by Tanya Good and Doug Armstrong

The Circle of Love, by Jim Gleason

Cycling the Pros' Course, by Bob Fox

A Day at the Circus, by Fran Kelsen and Jim Dean

Donor Family Events at the Games, by Willa Pilcher

The Eye is Faster than the Ball, by Jason Sprawka

Hot Competition at Volleyball, by Andrew Ti

A Hot Time in the Old Gym, by Bob and Maureen Fox

Hitting the Links at the Foxfire Club, by Bob Fox

Impressions of the Coffee House/Poetry Reading, by Nick Dean

Lively Action at Doubles Tennis, by Bob and Maureen Fox

Mom's Gift ...A Reunion , by Fran Kelsen and Jim Gleason

Sweet Spirit, by Eleanor Jones, Jim Dean, Maureen Fox and Andrew Ti

A Truly Remarkable Athlete, by Jason Sprawka

Tennis a Hit at Stickney Courts, by Andrew Ti

Until We Meet Again, by Maureen Fox, Fran Kelsen, and Eleanor Jones

Varsity Pool Hosts Swimming, by Maureen Fox

Vignettes from the Games
by Jim Gleason and Faith Taylor

The Games are special people everywhere - each so beautifully sharing their very inspiring stories. As a recipient or donor or professional or media correspondent, the emotions are flowing so freely as each hears the first hand reports of those who "have been there and done that" in every imaginable donor/transplant experience. Throughout the web site you will read the in-depth, photo-supported sharings as our Transweb reporters and photographers have captured them. No matter how great that coverage is, it really pales by comparison with being here hearing it in the words of the people who lived those stories. Even more impossible to capture are the multitude of vignettes that everyone is sharing everyplace you go - watching the events, over lunch on the lawn, aboard the 37 busses that traverse this huge venue of OSU and Columbus every few minutes. Lacking the names, details and photo support, we will try to share here a sampling of such snapshots of conversations, just to give you some feel for that amazing dimension of the US Transplant Games...

  • Imagine the feelings of inspiration as heart recipients meet those pioneers of that surgery, at least in term of today's modern immuno-suppressants. There is John, looking so healthy out here on the blowing lanes, 14 years post heart transplant. Shortly before that our emissary from the upcoming World Transplant Games in Holland was introduced as Mr. Bahvinck- having had his heart since 1983!! He is now 43 and looks so full of energy and health. He goes on to explain that his was one of those special "piggy-back" heart procedures - wow!! He is living today (to the amazement of his doctors) with two beating hearts inside him. Responding to the question as to how an unsuspecting doctor reacts when he listens to his heart and hears the double beat sounds, he proudly says: "They are blown away!" We laugh at the picture he paints of that scene. Having heard of such operations, this is my first "personal encounter" and as a heart recipient myself, the inspiration is beyond my limited words. All I can say (and I wouldn't repeat it again in the pieces that follow…) is "you have to have been there…"
  • Everyone here has a color coded name card hanging around their necks that proclaim to everyone whether they are a donor family, transplant recipient, media, or whatever. Conversations develop so freely and lovingly - instantly - on a first name basis. "Wow, both of your grandchildren received life saving heart transplants…"
  • Later we pass yet again (for the dozenth time), the sisters from Philadelphia (both in their mid twenties) who also are here today because of their heart transplants two years ago, both within months of each other. A donor family hugs with a recipient who offers to adopt them in lieu of direct contact with their "real recipients." …and the tears of love flow freely.
  • Watching a donor mom put her donor quilt piece up - an applique of a burning candle - her words are faint but overheard ending with "and her light shines on…" - nearby you can see tears rolling down an onlooker's face
  • Looking down the 64 lanes of the bowling site, over the deafening roar of balls rolling in unison, the comment is heard "Look at all those miracles in a row!" A young girl steers her wheelchair, bowling ball in lap, into position, and finally swings the big red ball toward the pins. Everyone cheers as the pins fall and her wheelchair turns back to the wall of smiling supporters and another small transplant recipient steps up for their turn.
  • Donor family husband and wife, Trish & Rob, share their beautiful story with a reporter from Life magazine about the experience of meeting with their heart recipient. That recipient, Rob, is on the lanes in front of them, responding to their support by rolling a strike!
  • Sara, a heart single-lung recipient this past Christmas is enjoying her first Games. Everyone comments on her beautiful story and personality. Friday afternoon Sara comes bounding (yes, BOUNDING!) down the hill with eyes filled with the joyful news that her parents, Pauline and Rob, have surprised her by driving the 6 hours out to sheer her on for the bike race on Saturday. You can feel the love overflowing as this recipient family is introduced to the donor family featured elsewhere - Rob and Trish - lots of hugs and snapshots taken as another adoption of a donor family takes place.
  • Friends, new and old, stand and share their lives under the light of a beautiful full moon high over the OSU campus. NKF couldn't have provided a nicer backdrop for such moments.
  • The pool spectators rise in cheering and clapping, not just for the medal winners, but even louder and stronger for the last place (often by many ticks of the timing clock) swimmer who with every effort they can muster finally touch the finish pad. One is blind, another churns with stumps for arms and no legs, having pushed off from his wheelchair to start the race. Tears flow everywhere in awe and joy at the scenes that unfold everywhere, at the swimming, the track and field, at all the competitions.
  • The blind young man with the beautiful voice who received encores and cheers all night at karaoke.
  • Each and every recipient, whether very competitive or not so competitive, expressing that their best times were in meeting other recipients and sharing experiences about the miracles because of our donor families and also meeting our heroes, the donor families.
  • The woman who presented myself and her best friend with medals for the softball toss. She also had presented her best friend with one of her kidneys. What a friend!
  • Donor mother whom I met waiting in line at a coffee house who was so happy to be here and see how wonderful recipients are living. She was full of gratitude that her four teenage children were finally grasping the amazing impact that their brother had on the lives of others.
  • Media professionals are everywhere on assignment. Many have covered such big events around the country before but find their professionalism threatened with tears as they get story detail and images everywhere that bridge the safe detachment so often a trademark of their work.




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Last modified: 11 May 2000