Thousands of Athletes to Descend on Pittsburgh for the National Kidney Foundation's 2008 U.S. Transplant Games

Pittsburgh, PA (June 3, 2008) - 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 the National Kidney Foundation’s 2008 U.S. Transplant Games held in Pittsburgh, Pa.

The Games, to be held July 11-16, 2008, 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, the U.S. Transplant Games draw participants from all over the country who are organized into 50 state teams.

Both the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), home of the world-renowned Thomas E. Starzl Transplantation Institute, will serve as the host facility, in partnership with Visit Pittsburgh and the National Kidney Foundation of the Alleghenies.

“Nearly 100,000 Americans are currently on the waiting list for life-saving organ transplants and 18 people die each day while waiting. The Transplant Games visually 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.”

Attendance at the 2008 U.S. Transplant Games is expected to exceed 5,000 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 special ceremonies honoring living organ donors and families of deceased organ donors. The Games will also offer four days of special workshops for donor families and an educational program for professionals involved in transplantation. A special organ donor night at the Pittsburgh Pirates will be held on Friday, July 11 and A 5K Road Race, open to the Pittsburgh community, will be held on Sunday, July 13, 2008.

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, title sponsor of the 2008 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. Additional sponsors include University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Wyeth, National Council of Corvette Clubs, Bristol Myers Squibb, Center for Organ Recovery and Education, Astellas and Roche.

For more information on the Games or organ donation call the National Kidney Foundation at (866) TX-GAMES or visit For tickets to organ donor night at the stadium visit