Winners before they compete

UI transplant patients participate in national Transplant Games

How often do you gather a group of competitors who are winners before a single event has begun?

This happy circumstance describes the 11 UI patients and donors who, after successful transplants and donor experiences, are participating as part of Team Iowa in the 2016 Transplant Games of America, June 10 to 15, in Cleveland, Ohio. The 2016 Donate Life Transplant Games, “Celebrating the Gift of Life – All Roads Lead to Cleveland,” are a national, festival style, multi-sport event for participants who have either undergone lifesaving solid organ transplants or are living donors.

The Transplant Games started over 20 years ago as an avenue to get the word out about organ and tissue donation, as well as a way to bring transplant and donor families together. In 2016 the Donate Life Transplant Games are an opportunity to celebrate the lives of organ donors and recipients and their families, and increase awareness of the overwhelming need for life-restoring donations.

The UI Transplant Program is actively supporting the patient/donor athletes on their journey to the 2016 Transplant Games. The 11 athlete patient/donors are being promoted on the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics website, and each has received individual trading cards that were printed to use for fund-raising and networking. In addition, all 34 members of Team Iowa were presented with UI Transplant Program travel duffel bags for the trip.

With so many people involved in the process—from the organ donor, to the recipient, to the physicians, the coordinators and all of the staff that make transplantation successful—transplantation is the ultimate team sport.

“The Organ Transplant Center is important to UI Health Care, the state of Iowa, and the region because we are the only comprehensive organ transplant center in the state,” says Alan Reed, MD, MBA, director, UI Hospitals and Clinics Transplant Center. “We transplant all of the organs, we have all of the specialists, and once [a patient has had a transplant] we take care of them for life.”

“I’m incredibly proud of these athletes and so pleased that they have taken this opportunity to do such great things,” Dr. Reed says.

Learn about our “winners” and their Transplant Games participation at and follow their journey on the UI Health Care Facebook and Twitter pages.