More Than 3,000 Organ Recipients, Donor Family Members And Supporters To Converge For 2012 Transplant Games of America's Opening Ceremony

Event to highlight the need for organ donations and the importance of donor registries

Jul 23, 2012, 10:00 ET from Transplant Games of America

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., July 23, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- On Saturday, July 28, 2012, the Transplant Games of America will host opening ceremonies to mark the start of its 2012 Games.  The ceremony will be held at Van Andel Arena in downtown Grand Rapids and will run from 7:15 p.m. until 9:30 p.m.

Key features of this year's opening ceremony are the parade of athletes, donor families and living donors as well as the lighting of the Transplant Games Cauldron.  In addition, representatives from state government and several organ donor organizations will be in attendance to promote the importance of organ donation and its impact on the lives of recipients.  Admission to the opening ceremony is $15.  Individuals unable to attend can view the events online at

The 2012 opening ceremony is supported by a grant from Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation (NPC), a pioneer in transplantation dedicated to the advancement of patient outcomes in transplantation medicine.

"Novartis is committed to providing innovative treatment solutions and first-in-class support services to meet the needs of transplant recipients and their families," said Carol Lynch, Vice President, Head of the Specialty Business Unit at NPC.  "We are proud to be a part of The Transplant Games of America to help support their goals and continue to drive greater awareness of and celebrate the life-saving gift of organ donation."

The Transplant Games of America, a multi-sport event for athletes who have undergone life-­saving transplant surgeries and living donors, will be held at Grand Valley State University from Saturday, July 28, 2012 through Tuesday, July 31, 2012.  The Transplant Games of America follow the tradition of the U.S. Transplant Games that were previously hosted by the National Kidney Foundation from 1990 to 2010.  Events will include basketball, swimming, track & field and others. 

Spectrum Health, the Games' presenting sponsor, has more than 330 employees volunteering during the Games. They also are partnering with the Michigan Secretary of State's office and Gift of Life Michigan to promote organ donor awareness and sign up 20,000 new West Michigan residents to Michigan's organ donor registry.

"There are more than 114,000 individuals nationwide waiting for an organ transplant," said Richard Pietroski, CEO of Gift of Life Michigan.  "Their best hope for a second chance at life is for people to join the donor registry through Gift of Life Michigan or the Secretary of State. The athletes at the Transplant Games of America compete not just for themselves but in honor of their donor and the precious gift they have received. We encourage everyone to be a hero by registering to be an organ, eye and tissue donor."

About the Transplant Games of America:
The Transplant Games of America is a multi-sport festival event for athletes who have undergone life-saving transplant surgeries, as well as for living donors. Competition is open to anyone who has received a solid organ transplant or bone marrow donation. More than just an athletic event, the Transplant Games of America highlights the critical importance of organ and tissue donation, while celebrating the lives of organ donors and recipients.  The Games will be held July 28-31 in the Greater Grand Rapids area.

CONTACT: Tyler Lecceadone

SOURCE Transplant Games of America