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US Transplant Games Athlete Profile: Ryan Zinn

The 2010 U.S. Transplant Games are just around the corner! The olympic-style event, held July 30 – August 4 in Madison, Wisc., is designed to celebrate the Gift of Life through transplantation, as well as highlight the need for more donors.

Thousands of individuals touched by donation will convene for the games, to cheer on transplant recipients as they participate in sports ranging from track and field to badminton. Ryan Zinn is one of the members of Team Ohio and will represent the Buckeye state at the national event! Read more about Ryan below.

Name:  Ryan Zinn

Age:  37

Hometown:  Columbus, Ohio

Connection to Donation:  Heart recipient since September 26, 1988

Events:  Track & Field:  100 meters, 200 meters, 400; Volleyball; Table Tennis: singles

What The Transplant Games Mean to You:  The Games have a couple different meanings for me.  First, it is a way for me to connect with hundreds of people who understand and can appreciate exactly what it means to be a recipient.  They are my friends and confidants.  They know about the surgeries, the medications, the ups and the down, the hopes and the fears that each of us have faced.  It’s our support group.  It’s our community! 

Second, it’s a way for me to stay active and have goals that push me physically and psychologically.  Without these challenges, my body and my psyche will not receive the vital exercise they need in order for me to maintain strong health.  So many people have invested in my wellbeing (My donor and his family, me, doctors, family, friends, etc.), it would be foolish and selfish not to do everything I can to use that Gift of Life wisely and for as long as possible.  It cannot be wasted! 

Third and most importantly, it is a way for me to show the world that transplantation works!  Nothing demonstrates success better than a recipient racing down the home stretch of a 400 meter sprint.  For a moment, the observer is caught up in the excitement of the race, the pumping of the arms and legs, the push to the finish line – but then it hits them… this person just won that race with another man’s heart!  There is no better way to tell the world that transplantation works and that donation matters!

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