By: Chad Robbins
In light of the recent tragedy in Aurora, Colorado, we are reminded of the frailty of life and how quickly the world can be turned upside down in a matter of seconds. This weekend, there is a glimmer of hope in humanity with the launch of the 2012 Transplant Games of America. Held in Grand Rapids, Michigan, any recipient of a solid organ transplant or bone marrow donation is eligible to compete during the festival against other recipients, and best of all, the donors themselves.
Lifesaving transplants and donations have altered the lives of countless men, women, and children. These games give them a chance to share, network, and compete with each other all in the name of the healing process. There is no real sense of a “us versus them” mentality. Everyone shares in similar journeys of survival and countless hours praying that a miracle could change their luck. Remarkably, they may even get a chance to meet their actual miracle donor in a challenging game of badminton or bowling.
There are truly only a small number of sporting events where competition and teamwork are the true factors of success. These athletes share a common bond, one that most will never be able to comprehend. Instead of holding out of NFL training camp under “contract negotiations” for up to $30,000 each day, competitors battle through a plethora of events including a 5k run, basketball, swimming, racquetball, and a variety of other team and individual contests. It is very easy to look at professional athletes as heroes and role models, but these games show the world who our real humanitarians are and celebrate the gift of life.
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