Audience Cheers Through Tough Day at Larkins,
by Jim Gleason and Tanya Good
Bowling for Medals, by Tanya Good and
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
Hot Competition at Volleyball, by
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
Tennis a Hit at Stickney Courts, by
Until We Meet Again, by
Maureen Fox, Fran Kelsen, and Eleanor Jones
Varsity Pool Hosts Swimming, by Maureen
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
- 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
- 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 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.