HOUSTON – On Wednesday, December 19, 2012, officials from the Transplant Games of America® (TGA) announced the City of Houston has been awarded the 2014 Transplant Games. The multi-sport festival will attract organ, tissue, and bone marrow transplant recipients, living donors, and donor families from across the country.
The successful bid was submitted by the Harris County - Houston Sports Authority, who will manage the games under the auspices of the TGA. The Transplant Games will take place July 10-15, 2014, utilizing BBVA Compass Stadium, the George R. Brown Convention Center, and various other facilities throughout the City of Houston.
Bill Ryan, President and CEO of the Transplant Games of America stated, “Houston won out over a number of exceptional communities for a variety of reasons. The Sports Authority bid clearly demonstrated an overwhelming commitment to the rich history of the Transplant Games and the cause of organ donation and transplantation.” Ryan added, “The local medical community played a great role in the selection of Houston for the Transplant Games and the leadership and professionalism of the nationally recognized Harris County - Houston Sports Authority created an unmatched excitement in bringing the games to this community.”
Expecting in excess of 2,000 athletes, sporting events include a 5K run, badminton, basketball, bowling, cycling, golf, racquetball, swimming, table tennis, tennis, and track and field. “I can’t wait for Houston to host the Games,” said Brian Gilliam, a Houston transplant recipient and athlete. “We will have a large number of Living Donors and Donor Families attend since the games are in Houston and they are reason that we compete!”
Aside from the sporting competition which will take place over four days, the event will include a spectacular opening and closing ceremonies and a series of tributes to many of the heroes of organ donation. Athletes and their families, donor families, and thousands of supporters will gather at Athletes Village to help deliver the important message that organ, eye and tissue donation saves lives.
According to Donate Life America, as of July 2012, there are 114,712 individuals in the United States awaiting a life-saving organ, and 1,737 are pediatric patients. Last year there were 28,535 organs transplanted from 14,144 donors.
In Texas alone, 11,000 men, women and children are waiting for a lifesaving transplant; more than 3,000 are from the greater Houston area. Donate Life Texas, which is the official database of Texans authorized to be organ, eye and tissue donors upon their deaths, reports that number stands at approximately 3 million registrants. The more registered donors there are, the greater the chance of finding matches for people in need. “We’ve made great progress with our state registry, especially lately with the assistance of the Department of Public Safety, but there is much more work to be done,” said Sam Holtzman, President and CEO of LifeGift, the local agency that recovers organs and tissues for 109 Texas counties and a member of Donate Life Texas. “Our hope is that bringing the Transplant Games of America to Houston will bring much awareness to the critical need for registered organ, eye and tissue donors not only in Houston, but across the State of Texas, as well.”
The Transplant Games of America® is a 501(c)(3) non-profit whose mission is to promote organ, eye, and tissue donation, as well as to bring awareness to the tremendous advances in the field of transplantation and in the development of immuno-suppressant drugs in the pharmaceutical industry.
Transplant Games of America
The Transplant Games of America ® is a biennial event held in the United States to recognize the accomplishments of individuals whose lives have been affected by eye, organ, and tissue donation. This festival-style event brings athletes, living donors, and donor family members together to promote awareness of the life-changing impact that donation represents today. Teams from virtually every state compete is a variety of sporting and non-sport competitive events to demonstrate how their lives have been changed through the gift of life as a result of organ, eye, and tissue donation. The 2012 Transplant Games of America ® held in Grand Rapids, Michigan brought together 1,377 athletes from 47 states.
Harris County-Houston Sports Authority
The Harris County-Houston Sports Authority maintains the facilities and services the debt of the world-class, professional sports venues it was created to build. To support this primary mission, the Sports Authority serves as a leading proponent for attracting sporting events to Houston and for promoting the city as a home for sports-related activities, to ultimately enhance Houston’s economic development and bring better quality of life for its residents.