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Carl Lewis talks about the Transplant Games by Bob Merion
  Chris Chiarello wins the 5K race by Bob Merion
  Gold Medal winner Kristin Zimmer updates TransWeb webcaster Bob Garypie on her success at the 2000 US Games by Bob Garypie
Donald Ehnot celebrates the 10 year anniversary of his heart transplant by going for the gold by Doug Armstrong
by David Katz
Available at Intramurals.com
A Conversation with Carl Lewis
From Baby Steps to Knowing Strides by Randy H. Milgrom

From Baby Steps to Knowing Strides

by Randy H. Milgrom

I'm an Arbor Arbor writer who was minding his own business, as usual, less than two weeks ago when Eleanor Jones, TransWeb editor, called me out of the blue to ask if I would come to Orlando this week to help cover the 2000 US Transplant Games. Almost everything I know about organ donation and transplantation I've learned on site.

We all looked alike,
ran alike, and sweat, groaned, and spit alike.

One of the things I suppose I have known, without necessarily stopping to consider it specifically, is that I am fortunate not to have needed a transplant. As far as I know, I haven't even known anyone who's needed one. I note my uncertainty because until now I've also assumed, I think, somewhere in the back of my unknowing mind, that if you know a person - or even if you just looked at a person - you'd know if they were an organ transplant recipient.

Though I know this sounds pretty stupid, I also suppose it's common for anyone considering anything from afar to operate under any number of false assumptions and misconceptions. Another on of mine was that organ transplant recipients are fragile - that they need, or should be given, certain kinds of pampering or other preferential treatment. I think I've thought of them -- when I've thought of them at all -the way I still think of very pregnant women. Before this week, I might have offered my seat to a standing organ transplant recipient - if I knew how to identify one.

By the end of Day 1 of the 2000 US Transplant Games, I had learned just how robust many organ transplant recipients are. That day reminded me a bit of the day my son was born. I was a naive and anxious first-time-dad-to-be, and I had this silly idea that he would be delivered from the womb not quite fully formed. Within an hour after his birth, though, I realized - even if I continued to be amazed by it - that he was already quite sturdy, thank you. And then as I continued to learn that babies aren't quite as vulnerable as I had initially thought, I also began to gratefully realize that I didn't need to worry so much after all.

So now I'm supposing that many organ transplant recipients might look upon themselves the way a protective parent (or even an occasionally overprotective parent) might. There are certain special factors that need to be taken into account, but you deal with them, you attend to them, you make certain you do everything you can to prevent potentially dangerous situations from occurring - and then you move on.

These last four days have introduced me to scores of friendly and outgoing people - positive individuals who do not spend any time looking back. I should have done less of this myself as I ran in this morning's 5K - the only event this week open to anyone who might care to enter.

Transplant Games open to anyone who might care to enter. There were about 2000 of us, including many elite runners from the surrounding Orlando area. I'd guess that most of them were there just to run, and that they've spent as little time thinking about organ donors and recipients as I have.

But this morning, I thought about them a lot. I kept looking back to see who might be gaining on me - transplant recipients, organ donors, donor family members, or just other folks like me who happen to have kept, thus far, all the body parts they started with. We all looked alike, ran alike, and sweat, groaned, and spit alike.



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