New York, NY (May 5, 2005) - They haven't hit the court or track yet and already this group of athletes has performed death-defying feats. They all carry an inner trophy — a new organ that qualifies them for the dream team in the game of life. Their ultimate trial will kick off at various venues in Louisville, the site selected for the 2006 U.S. Transplant Games, the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) announced today.
The Games, to be held June 16-21, 2006, are an Olympic-style event for athletes who have received life-saving organ transplants of every type — kidney, liver, heart, lung, pancreas and bone marrow. Transplant athletes will compete for gold, silver and bronze medals in 12 different sports including track and field, swimming, tennis, basketball, cycling and golf. Presented biennially by the National Kidney Foundation since 1990 and sponsored by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, the U.S. Transplant Games draw participants from all over the country who are organized into 50 state teams.
"More than 88,000 Americans are currently on the waiting list for life-saving organ transplants and ten people die each day while waiting. The Transplant Games showcase the success of transplantation, demonstrating the life-saving power of organ donation," says John Davis, CEO of the National Kidney Foundation.
"We hope our spirited competition will slam home the message that every American should consider becoming an organ donor," continues Davis.
Attendance at the 2006 U.S. Transplant Games is expected to surpass the record-breaking participation in the 2004 Games of 7,000 people, including transplant athletes, their families and friends and families of organ donors. Athlete participants range in age from two to 85. In addition to athletic competition, the Games will feature four days of special workshops for donor families and an educational program for professionals involved in transplantation. A 5K Road Race, open to the Louisville community, will be held on Saturday, June 17, 2006.
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.
Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, proud sponsor of the 2006 Games, has supported the event since 1990. A committed partner to the transplant community, Novartis is dedicated to enhancing therapeutic options, quality of life and the long term success of therapy for transplant recipients.
For more information on the Games call the National Kidney Foundation at (866)TX-GAMES or visit www.transplantgames.org.
To purchase a green "Donate Life" charity bracelet, contact the National Kidney Foundation at (866)TX-GAMES. Bracelets are $2.00 each and proceeds support the Transplant Games athletes.