PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – This June, more than 170 Pittsburghers will travel to Cleveland to take part in the Transplant Games.
The events are modeled after the Olympics, but the participants are transplant recipients, living donors and their families.
“Before transplant, they weren’t able to do normal things and now, they are going to go to Cleveland and participate in things like marathons and bowling and swimming and ballroom dancing. So, I think it’s their way of honoring the donor,” Misty Enos, of the Center for Organ Recovery and Education, said.
“We have team members that are as young as 6 and as old as 84,” Team Pittsburgh Manager Colleen Yost said.
Also on Team Pittsburgh are living donors, who have given the gift of life, and donor families.
A total of 44 teams from all across the country will go head-to-head this year in sports like basketball, track and field and volleyball.
But, that’s not all.
“We have extended the games to include trivia for the non-athletes,” Yost said.
CORE held a pep rally for Team Pittsburgh over the weekend. There, people signed a flag that will fly at the Transplant Games.
While there is a lot of excitement over the upcoming competition, many just want to raise awareness about critical, life-saving organ donation.
“It’s a health care crisis. There are over 121,000 people waiting on the national transplant list,” Enos said.
That number includes more than 2,500 people here in Western Pennsylvania.