The link below is to our pictures and videos from the Transplant Games of America Team Texas. Please click on the link below and enjoy our memories!!
All the members of Team Texas have arrived home safe and sound after an amazing five days in the magnificent city of Grand Rapids, Michigan. It was a wonderful city to host the games as everyone we came into contact with was hospitable and genuinely happy to have us in their city. The city itself is beautiful and there was so much to do and see on the time when there was no competions happening. I could definitely see myself going back as the hustle and bustle of competition did not allow me to take part in all the city has to offer. As a team, we took home over 60 medals as our athletes poured their hearts into their respective sporting events. We were definitely sporting the bling at the closing ceremonies. Medals aside, the spirit and commraderie of the games is by far the overwhelming element that everyone takes away from these games. I was fortunate to witness one of our own team members create a lifetime memory for someone else. A team Texas member took off one of his own gold medals and put it around the neck of our team manager to thank him for the incredible job that he did managing the team and making this the best team Texas has ever sent to the games. This selfless act of caring for another person is just one of the events witnessed during the games. Another was when a 10 year old boy who had the opportunity to win a medal in a 50 meter dash yet he stopped just steps short of the finish line to allow a 6 year old behind using a walker to cross the finish line first and win a medal. These types of events are what makes these games so special for everyone involved because even the youngest of competitors knows the games mean so much more than just a medal around their neck.
Our first and biggest thank you of all goes to our donor families and living donors for without you there would be no transplantation. Your selfless act of love and giving has provided a new and renewed life to others. May you and your families know that there are no words to adequately express the thanks for a second chance at life. Thank you to all of our many supporters, family, friends and complete strangers from every corner of Texas and beyond who continually stood behind us and believed we could get to these games. You have had a part in creating a life time memory for the members of Texas Life Warriors. We would like to take the opportunity to thank all of the sponsors who helped us get to theses games. The Methodist Hospital J.C. Walter, Jr. Transplant Center, St. Lukes Episcopal Hospital Cooley Transplant Center, Texas Children's Hospital, Memorial Hermann Hospital, Nora's Home, LifeGift, The Bug Reaper, Sports Zone, & Donate Life Texas. Over the coming days I will be posting pictures from the games and hopefully an official medal count for Team Texas.
GO TEAM TEXAS!!!!
I have the honor of presenting the recipients, living donors, donor families and supporters that ARE Team Texas. (we are missing a few folks from this picture) Our first day here in Grand Rapids has been nothing short of inspiring!! Everyone arrived at various times and through various forms of transportation. It is beyond words to watch people and see everyone come together from all corners of these great United States and instantly bond over their excitement and enthusiasm for the games. Within minutes of being here new friendships were being forged and old ones renewed. I had the good fortune to see one of my recipients who was on the very first team I took to the games back in 1994. For me as a Transplant Coordinator, to see Rita still enjoying the fullness of life 18 years after transplant is beyond any words as evidenced by the fact that when I saw her I cried like a child. The pin trading has already gone into a frenzied mode. For those of you unfamilar with this tradition, athletes trade pins representing their state with each other to try and get a collection of pins from every state represented at the games. From those people who have done this many times before to those who are the "rookies" everyone shares a common bond and a relization that they are here and able to be a part of this life event because of their donor. We had the good fortune to have our LifeGift donor quilt grace the wall of our hospitality room today before it goes to be displayed throughout the games. I pause here to honor the beautiful souls that are not only represented on that quilt but to all donors who are ever present through their gift of life to others.
Electricity affects so many aspects of our every day life that many times we don't think about it and we totally take it for granted. It just happens when you flip the switch. Then there are times when electricity is a physical phenomena, a feeling between two people or just a singular moment in time when a spark runs through your body and makes you stand up and take notice. I had an "electricity" moment yesterday. I was asked to pick up a donor quilt at LifeGift in order for it to travel with the Hibbler familly to Grand Rapids to be on display during the Transplant Games of America. I had the good fortune of meeting Shannon Lenox -donor Mom and Vital Volunteer at LifeGift. She handed me the quilt saying "Take care of this...my son is on here" and showed me the square with the picture of her son Roy. As she handed me the quilt I had my electricity moment. I immediately felt a sense of electricity run though me and had an intense of responsibilty to Shannon and this quilt. I truly felt like she was handing me her child to take care of. As I sat in the parking lot and through teary eyes looked at the many squares which included names, faces and words of love about each one of these amazing donors. I could not help but feel an intense sense of electricity knowing that these people were still sharing life with others. So.... don't ever take electricity for granted.
The only words that come to mind are WOW...I can't believe we are 4 days away from the Transplant Games of America!!! I am, in the words of my friends 5 year old son, "ooober excited" -not sure how you spell that though :) Since I am only a transplant coordinator, I can not begin to imagine the emotions that must be going through the minds of the athletes, living donors and donor families who will be attending. For me, the first transplant games I attended back in 1994 in Atlanta Georgia were one of the most moving events of my life. I can still remember vividly seeing one of my heart transplant reciepients playing basketball. It was just 9 months before that he could not walk from the bed to the chair without being extremely short of breath. He was just 28 years old at the time of his transplant. Thanks to his donor he was not only able to play basketball that year but he got married and has two children whom he has gotten to see grow up. He just celebrated the 18th anniversary of his transplant. The Transplant Games are but one way to honor the donor and donor familes for the amazing gift of a new life and a second chance. For that gift the words thank you just don't seem adequate enough for so many. The games are a great way to showcase the gratitude of reciepients to their donor families by living life to the fullest. For that... there really are no other words.
Believe.....what a powerful word. The dictionary defines it as "to have confidence in or faith in the truth, to have a conviction that a person or thing will be engaged in a given action or situation." It is by strongly believing that we could get a team recruited, organized and to the games that it has all come to fruition. After so many months of hard work, countless hours of stress and worry we are now so close that the excitement is actually palpable amongst the group. I look back on these past months and am awed by the determination that got us here and I am humbled to be a part of it. Some of the grass roots folks who deserve a huge thank you for making it all happen are Amy Frackowiak, John Anderson, Mandi Lusby, Dana Reeder and of course Brian Gilliam -Team Manager. No one will ever know the crazy number of hours (and dollars) that Brian has put in to make this team what it is today but more importantly what it will be for the future. We have a very strong foundation on which to build upon and that is defintely something to believe in!!! GO TEAM TEXAS!!!
Welcome everyone to our new Team Texas blog. We will use this forum to keep our family, friends and any other supporters updated on the happenings of Team Texas. Please feel free to share the link for this site. I plan to update it as often as necessary while at the games with pictures and videos and whatever we need to allow us to share this experience with everyone back home here in Texas and around the country. We are only 25 days away from going to the games and saying thank you to donors and showing the world what a miracle transplantation really is.