Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Organ Donors Save Lives

Did you know there are nearly 2,000 people waiting for a life-saving organ transplant in Maryland?

There's never been a better time to sign up to become an organ donor, or to celebrate the accomplishments of transplant recipients. While the opening ceremony of the U.S. Transplant Games might be nearly a year away, Maryland transplant recipients are on the track, basketball court, in the pool, and on the course getting ready for next summer's games in Madison, Wisc.

As one of the world’s largest gathering of organ transplant recipients, the U.S. Transplant Games allows athletes – kidney, liver, heart, lung, pancreas and bone marrow recipients – to compete for medals in 12 sports, including bicycling, bowling, golf, racquetball, swimming, tennis and track and field events.

Last year, hailing from every corner of the state, Team Maryland athletes garnered 12 medals in total at the 2008 U.S. Transplant Games in Pittsburgh.

“The games are a real-life demonstration of the determination and courage transplant recipients possess,” says Latrice Price, Team Maryland manager. “The event also draws attention to the critical need for organ donation in this country and inspires others to take the first step towards saving a life by becoming a designated organ, eye and tissue donor.”

Nationally more than 82 million people are designated as organ and tissue donors. In addition to the nearly 2,000 people waiting in Maryland, there are more than 100,000 waiting nationally for their life-saving donation. The need for designated organ donors grows every day.

In 2008, Sinai Hospital had eight donors, adding to Maryland’s total of 119 organ donors and 373 tissue donors. From this generosity, 443 members of our community received the gift of life through an organ transplant.

“And as much as the games are an athletic event, they are also a celebration of life among recipients, donor families and physicians, allied professionals, and friends,” adds Price.

Team Maryland is always looking for new team members. Are you a transplant recipient and interested in competing at the games? The next meeting is July 13, 2009. Contact Latrice Price, Team Maryland Manager at or 410-242-7000 for more information.

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