The USA transplant community was ready to welcome people from all over the globe this year in what would have been the largest and most dynamic gathering of organ transplant recipients ever to take place. After all, our country waited 41 years for the opportunity to host and participate in the World Transplant Games on American soil. Then a pandemic hit. For a brief moment, it knocked the wind out of everyone’s sails, but we are a resilient bunch and decided to defy the odds and be a force for good. And for the gift of life.
Bill Ryan, President and CEO of Transplant Life Foundation, Donate Life Transplant Games, and member of our World Transplant Games Host Committee, stood with us every step of the way — whether it was bidding for or planning the upcoming World Games or making the tough decision last summer to cancel, and then simultaneously be one of the first ones to boldly announce with us a virtual experience in its place.
Like me, Bill anticipates this to be the largest U.S. contingency to ever participate in the global event. So, it’s with great passion that we reach out asking you and your members to join Team USA. In honor of National Donor and Valentine’s Day, all of Team USA, their families, and their friends will receive a Buy One, Get One FREE event registration when signing up for the 5K AnyWay event now through February 17. That’s two registrations for the price of one: Click Here To Register!
Team members are encouraged to think outside the box and participate in their 3.1 miles any way they choose as they help us virtually circle the globe. And, yes, we will be recognizing the most creative ways. To learn more, please watch this short, promotional video below:
We would also ask you to set up an informational Zoom meeting for your team members to learn more. Contact Meredith Pardue at [email protected] to schedule a time that works best for your members. These meetings will help answer questions, assist them in understanding where proceeds are going, answer how they can earn a free entry or apply for a grant if needed, explain why their participation is needed to further the cause, and give members some much-needed inspiration during this time of unprecedented isolation.
With the world’s largest medical center, NASA, and Disney all on board to lend their efforts to making this the best virtual event you can imagine, we know you won’t regret jumping in with both feet. Also, we’re giving you a sneak peek before the rest of the public at Tex (TX) the Bear. Thanks to our partnership with the global Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. organization, for every ten members who sign up under any team name, a teddy bear will be unlocked and given as a sign of love, hope and inspiration to a child currently waiting for a lifesaving organ donation.
The bears will provide comfort and support to children from all over the world. Team Iran plans to unlock 15 bears. The United Kingdom has already set up 54 teams and plans to have a minimum of 540 people participate, which translates to unlocking over 50 bears!
To date, we have 30 countries and 25 U.S. States represented. Remember, we want this to be America’s Games, and the goal is to have all 50 states involved with Team USA. It’s America’s turn to lead the way, to put hundreds of bears in children’s arms, to have fun competing, and to spread the message about the gift of life.
We’re all in, are you in?
About the author: Janis Burke, CEO – Harris County – Houston Sports Authority – President of Host Committee, 5K AnyWay Event presented by the Texas Medical Center