The Transplant Games of America – A Family Honors Their Hero
The Transplant Games of America took place in Houston this year. Janie Scarborough, a donor mom, was able to travel to the games with her nieces to honor her daughter, Sarah, and to cheer on Team Ohio.
Janie, Teresa and Tracy talk a little about their experience. In 2016, the games are coming to Cleveland!
Janie Scarborough – Donor Mom
There are not enough words in the dictionary to describe the energy and atmosphere of the Transplant Games. It is an outstanding community of gratefulness and healing. As a Donor Mom, every recipient I met thanked me many times for my daughter’s gift. What a comfort to know how much Sarah’s unselfishness is appreciated.
I was so lucky to have my nieces, Teresa and Tracy, with me to observe first-hand the love and camaraderie felt by everyone who has been touched by organ donation. It was important for me that my family witnessed the power of donation.
Our “official” welcome to the games were the opening ceremonies. This was an opportunity for all of the state teams to walk on the track and be recognized for receiving their gifts of life. But, as a donor mom, the donor family walk after the state teams was worth the whole trip. Everyone was standing and crying and recognizing our loss – it was indescribable.
After that, the games began! There were 18 competition categories that took place – the organization was impeccable! Dana, Sarah’s heart recipient, is a social worker and was given a second chance at life through Sarah’s donation. It was so wonderful being able to cheer Dana on! She competed in six event and took home two medals! It was very special being able to cheer Dana on as she competed.
Teresa Simpson – Donor Cousin
I really did not know what to expect upon arriving at the Transplant Games. Quickly though, I was impressed by the size and the organization of the games. Everything went so smoothly – from the opening ceremony to the competitions to the activities for donor families. The games were huge and impressive.
I am so grateful that the games gave me the opportunity to meet Sarah’s heart recipient, Dana. I knew about her from Facebook posts, but it was wonderful to meet her and feel the connection to Sarah while I cheered Dana on during her events. It is amazing how Sarah lives on and has given Dana a second chance to be active, healthy and alive.
While the games were amazing in themselves, what I loved most was meeting new people and hearing their stories. Everyone was talking and sharing their story whether a recipient or donor or family member. The message of the games was about the importance of donating, how donation impacts lives, celebrating life and hope.
I took my 8 year old son to the games. I have talked to him about Sarah and about her donation. However, I think experiencing the event was a wonderful way of showing him the importance of being a donor. He came away from the games saying that he wants to be a donor too. What an awesome experience!
Tracy Truax – Donor Sarah Jane Scarborough’s Cousin
Attending the Transplant Games was a wonderful celebration of life. Every event we attended had an overall joyful atmosphere.
Our week began with the opening ceremony. It was energizing to walk into the stadium with Team Ohio and experience the vast number of people who have been affected by organ donation. This was followed by participating in walking a lap with other donor families, where we were treated to a standing ovation.
Throughout the week we met so many transplant recipients who noticed “donor family” on our name tags and seized the opportunity to thank us for the sacrifice our loved one made. While we were surrounded by strangers, there is a bond that exists between all transplant recipients, living donors, and donor families.