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San Antonio, TX
March 14, 2001
To celebrate the one-year anniversary of Spurs forward Sean Elliott’s return to basketball, the San Antonio Spurs and the National Kidney Foundation are bringing Elliott’s ongoing organ donor awareness and kidney disease education campaign to the Alamodome, when the Spurs take on the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Spurs and the NKF are declaring this evening Sean Elliott Organ Donor Awareness Night.
At this game, the first 10,000 fans through the Alamodome’s doors will receive a Sean Elliott trading card donated by Topps, as well as an organ donor card. In addition, the first 5,000 fans will also receive a green ribbon pin, which denotes organ donation, courtesy of the Texas Organ Sharing Alliance. During the game’s halftime, Sean will host an on-court presentation with children who have kidney disease.
“Being diagnosed with kidney disease was one of the scariest moments of my life,” said Elliott. “People need to know that kidney disease does not have to control you. There are treatment options that allow you to maintain your normal lifestyle.”
Seventy-five thousand Americans are currently on the waiting list for an organ transplant, and each day more than 16 of them die waiting. Over 1,000 of the people waiting for an organ transplant are in South and Central Texas. Therefore, Elliott is using this game as an opportunity to urge everyone to sign an organ donor card and share their decision with their family.
Other special activities that will be taking place include booths where local hospitals will offer free high blood pressure and diabetes screenings, and the National Kidney Foundation of South and Central Texas will provide information about kidney disease and organ donation. These will be located at Southwestern Bell's FANFiesta on the south side of the Alamodome behind the curtain. During this time there will be a silent auction of Sean Elliott autographed memorabilia benefiting the National Kidney Foundation. Elliott will also host a special post-game meet and greet with 133 young kidney disease patients and organ recipients and their families who will attend courtesy of Spurs players and sponsors. All of these children will be wearing special Sean Elliott Organ Donor Awareness Night t-shirts.
In August of 1999 Elliott underwent a kidney transplant after being diagnosed with end-stage renal disease (ESRD). On March 14, 2000, he officially returned to the court when the Spurs took on the Atlanta Hawks. Sean played this first game with a little more caution than usual – but still managed to master a slam-dunk. Now one year later, he is again playing to his full potential as if he never missed a beat.
“Sean Elliott is obviously a miracle man,” Spurs Head Coach and General Manager Gregg Popovich said. “I have a great deal of respect for his competitiveness and uncommon desire. Our entire organization is thrilled that he’s back.”
Elliott has had his share of routine injuries throughout the past year, the most recent being a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder. But his overall health has been terrific, and just seems to keep improving. Even the Spurs team doctors are still amazed.
“I have been with him on both sides of this ordeal,” said Dr. Paul Saenz, Spurs Team Physician. “Seeing him as sick as he was, and then watching him come back and make sports history by returning to a professional game at the highest level with a kidney transplant, still gives me chills.”
The National Kidney Foundation is dedicated to preventing kidney and urinary tract diseases, improving the health and well being of individuals and families affected by these diseases, and increasing the availability of all organs for transplantation.