New York, NY (April 16, 2001) - The U.S. Transplant Games will return in 2002 to Disney's Wide World of Sports™ Complex in Orlando, FL, the site of the largest Games to date, the National Kidney Foundation announced today. Founding Sponsor Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation will continue as title sponsor of the event.
The Games, scheduled for June 25-29, 2002, are an Olympic-style athletic competition, presented biennially by the National Kidney Foundation since 1990. The athletic event is open to individuals of all ages who have received a life-saving organ transplant such as a heart, lung, liver, kidney, pancreas or bone marrow. It features 37 events in more than a dozen sports, including swimming, cycling, basketball, track and field, golf, bowling and tennis.
"The U.S. Transplant Games dramatically illustrate the power of organ donation to restore life," said NKF Chairman Fred Herbert in making the announcement. "While they celebrate the success of transplantation, they call attention to the desperate need for more organ donors in this country, where more than 75,000 people still wait for the gift of life."
"We're pleased to be at Disney once again and we're looking forward to topping the success of the last Games, which brought more transplant recipients together than any event in history," added NKF CEO John Davis. "Even though the location is the same, these Games will be very different from those in 2000. We have improved and streamlined the registration process and centralized housing to keep our athletes and their families together for the feeling of comradery that has been the hallmark of so many past Games," he continued. "Right now we're working to put together an exciting and affordable package of events and new activities that will be attractive to all our athletes and their families. We are also seeking additional sponsorship that will allow us to make this the best Games ever."
Anthony Venditti, vice president of Transplant and Immunology for Novartis, expressed his company's ongoing commitment to transplant recipients and their families through its continued support of the Games. "We recognize that this event not only showcases the success of transplant but also increases awareness among transplant recipients of the benefits of fitness to their overall well-being," he said.
"Once again, the Donor Family Recognition Ceremony and Giving, Grieving, Growing Workshops will take place during the Games and we look forward to welcoming and honoring donor families whose unselfish gifts of life make transplantation possible," said Mr. Herbert. "Bringing donor families and recipient athletes together is one of the most powerful messages the Games bring home to Americans. Transplants work and we still have a tremendous shortage of organs.
"One piece of good news is that transplants from living donors continue to grow, and we are making a special effort to recognize living donors at the Games," Mr. Herbert continued. "We hope those who gave organs will come to Orlando and celebrate life with their recipient athlete."
The Transitions program will be held during the U.S. Transplant Games and will once again present the opportunity for professionals involved in every aspect of transplantation care to come together to share ideas and expertise in helping recipients and families focus on new beginnings.
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.