Harris County – Houston Sports Authority Awarded 2021 SportsTravel Award for 2021 World Transplant Games 5K AnyWay
HOUSTON – Yesterday, the Harris County – Houston Sports Authority (HCHSA) was recognized at the renowned sports-industry TEAMS conference, receiving the 2021 SportsTravel Award for its work on the 2021 World Transplant Games 5K AnyWay. This year’s SportsTravel Awards honored organizations that have adapted and continued to create innovative events during a challenging and historic year. When the global pandemic forced the cancellation of the 2021 World Transplant Games in Houston, HCHSA adapted its original plan and created the 5K AnyWay, a virtual race around the world that allowed participants to complete their race miles in AnyWay they chose. At the end of the virtual event week, participants were invited to celebrate their 5K achievement with a virtual celebration complete with celebrity appearances, interviews with the International Space Station, and live music performances! “The cancellation of the 2021 World Transplant Games challenged our team to adapt to these unprecedented times and find an innovative way to host a traditionally in-person event.”, said HCHSA CEO, Janis Burke. “Very much in tune with the spirit of the World Transplant Games, we knew we had to persevere and persist to make a positive impact on the transplant community through this event. We are honored not only to receive this award, but to have created an event that helped support and raise awareness for the transplantation community.” The virtual format implemented by HCHSA allowed the World Transplant Games to reach more individuals than ever before with participants from all 50 states and across 52 countries committed to the cause. The virtual element of this year’s 5K also gave participants the opportunity to share their endeavors via social media, creating a reach of nearly 8 million users engaging with the World Transplant Games while completing their race miles through 70 different activities, including skateboarding, paddle boarding, and even kickboxing! The 5K AnyWay also made a lasting impact through the Teddy Bear initiative. For every 10 people who joined a 5K AnyWay team, a custom Build-a-Bear teddy bear, named TX, was donated to a child currently on the donor waitlist. A total of 3,600 bears will be given to youth patients around the globe. TX the bear has a created a long-lasting legacy for the World Transplant Games and will be included in all future games. Along with the Teddy Bear initiative, more than $47,000 was raised through participants’ race miles over the course of the week-long event. Funds raised through the event help support transplant children to get active and be part of the award-winning Fit for Life global program. The Fit for Life! initiative aims to elevate the importance of physical activity and organized sport at all levels in the long-term management and well-being of transplant recipients.
About Harris County – Houston Sports Authority The Harris County-Houston Sports Authority maintains the facilities and services the debt of the worldclass, professional sports venues it was created to build. To support this primary mission, Houston Sports 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. Houston Sports also created the annual Houston Sports Awards to honor the area’s outstanding athletes.