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Transplant Recipients Honor Donors Through Quilting


HOUSTON – Those affected by donation through organ, corneal, and tissue transplantation know firsthand the ultimate, lifesaving gift that can be given from one person to another.  Through the 2014 Donate Life Transplant Games of America, recipients are given the opportunity to honor their donor through the unique and enduring form of quilting.

For more than twenty years, the tradition of creating a commemorative quilt to honor a donor has been practiced.  Recipients and members of donor families pull together favorite pieces of clothing, pictures, and other mementos from their loved one to be sewn together.  The finished product is much more than a quilt.  It is a piece of art and timeless tribute to the donor.

“The donor quilts represent a tremendous personal link between donor and recipient and the emotional bond comes through in a very special way.   The quilt display at the Transplant Games is one of the highest-attended events,” said Bill Ryan CEO and President of the Transplant Games of America.

Leading up to the Games, participants can request a quilt kit that includes a 10” x 10” square of white muslin, fabric pens, pins, and thread.  Many state teams across the country will host quilt square parties where team members come together to share stories and make their portion of the quilt.  On July 14, 2014, the Transplant Games of America will hold a quilt pinning ceremony as part of its events programming.  Testimonials will be given by recipients as they pin their square to fabric that will later be sewn together.

“We think the quilt pinning ceremony is going to be a highlight of our special events during the Transplant Games,” event coordinator Gabby Schmees said.  “It is a beautiful way to remember those that gave in the most selfless way.”

Participants in the Transplants Games are encouraged to bring donor quilts that have already been created individually or by their state teams.  The quilts will be displayed throughout Houston in the athlete village at George R. Brown Convention Center, in meeting rooms, and in the skywalk between the convention center and the Hilton Americas Hotel. 

Following the Games, the quilts will be available for appearances as needed throughout the country and will be featured on a tour leading up to the Games in 2016.  For more information or to request a quilt kit, please email Gabby Schmees at

With more than 3,000 expected participants, the Transplant Games of America promotes the need for organ, corneal, and tissue donors through a multi-sport festival event. Participants in the Games have either received an organ, corneal, or tissue transplant or are a living donor.  Many donor families also travel to the Games to show support for athletes and celebrate the lives of their loved ones. The Transplant Games of America will take place across Houston July 11-15, 2014.

Author: Stephanie Weaver
Phone: (713) 308-5915