How to Save a Life
July 29, 2010 4:34 PM
Sunday morning will find me kicking off the cycling events at the National Kidney Foundation U.S. Transplant Games. The games feature 1,500 athletes, all transplant recipients, performing in Olympic style competitive events throughout the city.
This is a great event for Madison, adding to our reputation as a venue for regional and national athletic events like the Ironman. In fact, Madison is the smallest city ever to host the transplant games. The economic impact to our community is approximately $2.6 million, but more importantly, the games send an important message about the need for more organ donors. Every 11 minutes, another name is added to the national organ donor waiting list, and every day an average of 18 people die waiting.
I am a very direct beneficiary of organ donors even though I haven't needed one myself. I have had two people who work in my office who are donor recipients. Larry Studesville, who did a fine job for me pinch hitting for a staff member on family leave, was the recipient of a new kidney, and my basic services aide Ray Harmon received a new heart shortly before coming to work for me a few years ago.
I know how much Larry and Ray have contributed to our community since their transplants. Every day they are living proof of the value of organ donations. It's one reason I've made the election on my driver's license designating myself as a donor.
There will be fun and informational transplant games activities all over the downtown this weekend, so check it out at 2010Games@kidneywi.org. Or, to become an organ donor now, go to www.YesIWillWisconsin.com.