The 2012 Transplant Games of America are finally here! From July 27th – August 1st, Team Maryland, comprised of twenty-nine transplant recipients, living donors, and donor family members will travel to Grand Rapids, Michigan to represent Maryland as they compete in Olympic-style events. Like the Team Maryland Facebook page to stay updated on their progress at the games.
Between now and July 27th, we will be posting bios of some of our Team Maryland athletes. We hope you enjoy getting to know them a little better!
- Track and Field (100M Run, 1500M Race/Walk, Women’s Relay)
When she was 13 years old, Hae was diagnosed with End Stage Renal Disease, which meant that her kidneys were failing. A year later, Hae was placed on dialysis. At 14 years old, Hae felt out of place, uncomfortable and very nervous about dialysis.
When she was 15, Hae’s doctors told her she needed a kidney transplant. Her parents were tested to see if they could donate one of their kidneys to Hae, but neither of them were a match. “I know my parents were devastated. I was equally upset and I was placed on the transplant list,” recalls Hae.
At age 16, Hae finally received a phone call from Johns Hopkins informing her that there was a kidney available for her. The surgery went well, and Hae has lived with her donated kidney for almost 20 years. Her transplant allowed her do things she was limited from doing before, but most of all, the special gift from a complete stranger has ensured that she would continue to live a normal and fulfilling life.
- Track and Field (Discus, Shot Put, Softball Throw)
- Bowling Doubles
This will be Mike’s 5th time participating in a Transplant Games. Mike says of the Games, “Once you go, you’re hooked! I will always go back, even if I can’t compete anymore. The celebration of life, competition, and long lasting relationships will stay with me forever. We all celebrate a second chance at life. Take advantage of everyday, opportunity, and the gift we have. I carry the spirit of my donor “Kelly” in all I do at the games…and in life.”
Mike had been a diabetic since the age of 12 and he lived with diabetes into his adult years. After being diagnosed with Acute Renal Failure in 1994, he started on dialysis. This was tough for him and he struggled through 18 months of dialysis before receiving a call letting him know The University of Maryland Medical Center had a healthy pancreas and kidney for him. Since the fateful day in March of 1995, he has “felt great with all kinds of energy,” and he lives every day to the fullest.
Mike’s motto: “I’ll never be able to give back what I got, but I’m sure going to try!”
- 5K Cycling
- 20K Cycling
- Bowling – singles
Marty is participating in his first transplant games this year in Grand Rapids, MI. He is very excited for the experience and to be able to support his team and the transplant community as a whole.
Marty’s liver failed suddenly in 2009 due to acetaminophen poisoning, which essentially killed his liver. His wife and biggest supporter convinced the liver transplant team to place him on the transplant list, even though it appeared his chances to survive were slim. He had to receive a transplant within 72 hours.
Marty was wheeled into surgery in less than 48 hours but the operation did not occur because he was too unstable and had uncontrollable bleeding. This liver was sent on to the next recipient on the transplant list.
His wife asked the surgeon what options were left for him. The surgeon said he could remove the liver with the hope that Marty would stabilize and have the ability to receive a second liver for a transplant. She chose that option knowing Marty would need to receive a second liver within 48 hours. His wife and family prayed to St. Rita, the Saint of the Impossible and the impossible happened. Marty received his liver
The Marens are beyond thankful Marty is here today to lead a normal and productive life. Marty has had a change in perspective. What is important in his life now is very different from what he thought was important before the transplant. Now his involvement in the transplant community is an important and necessary part of his everyday life.
- Table Tennis
Brian received his first kidney from his oldest brother Dave in 1984 at the age of 15. His second transplant was from his other brother Ken in 2006 at the age of 37. This will be Brian’s 14th time participating in the Transplant Games – he has participated in games both in the United States and Internationally. The Transplant Games have become a big part of his life over the past 20 years. He quotes his doctor, “the transplant games have been the best medicine.”
Brian was born with a urinary blockage and was not expected to live past the age of 2. Throughout his life, he has undergone over 50 surgeries and has been at death’s door multiple times. When asked what keeps him going, Brian states, “the support of my loving family and friends, and of course my unusual, yet fun, sense of humor.”
Brian also states, “Donation has brought my family even closer than I could have ever imagined. It has made me the person I am today.”