CLEVELAND, Ohio - A major event with a major cause is just 75 days from beginning in Cleveland. The Donate Life Transplant Games of America will be held in Cleveland June 10 – 15 and early registration numbers show that the event is on pace to be the largest in Games history. The event is being organized locally by the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, Lifebanc and Eversight Ohio and is expected to bring $8.1 million into the local economy.
Links: Official Transplant Games of America website | Register to become an organ donor
The Transplant Games is a multi-sport festival event for individuals who have undergone life-saving transplant surgeries. Competition events are open to organ transplant recipients, living donors, bone marrow recipients, and corneal and tissue transplant recipients. More than an athletic event, the Transplant Games highlight the critical importance of organ, eye, and tissue donation, while celebrating the lives of organ donors and recipients and increasing donor registry levels.
The event is expected to draw more than 6,000 participants of all ages from all 50 states and several countries for its 21 different sports and numerous ancillary events. The event will be headquartered at the FirstMerit Convention Center of Cleveland with other events being held at numerous venues across Northeast Ohio. Over 2,000 volunteers will work over 5,000 shifts to help make the event a success.
“The excitement for the 2016 Transplant Games has never been more evident than with registration numbers up almost 100% over the previous record-breaking mark set in Houston in 2014,” said Bill Ryan, President & CEO, Transplant Games of America. “Clearly people are anticipating a spectacular event in Cleveland and the team is ready to deliver on those expectations. In a few short months, all of the hard work and planning by the local organizing committee will result in an event that people will talk about for years to come. Our mission to promote organ, eye, and tissue donation remains a focus for all of us as we put the finishing touches on a world-class event in a world-class community.”
More than 123,000 Americans are waiting for a life-saving organ transplant with more than 3,300 waiting at one of Ohio's 10 transplant centers. While 56 percent of Ohio driver's license holders are registered organ, eye and tissue donors, it's still not enough to meet the demand. Every 48 hours an Ohioan dies waiting for an organ transplant.
All competitions are free and open to the public for spectators, as is the event’s Opening Ceremony at Public Auditorium on June 10. The Convention Center will house a festival village featuring free programming, vendors and entertainment and the event will come to an end with a Closing Ceremony on Mall C on June 15.
For more information and a full schedule of events, visit www.transplantgamesofamerica.org.
Quotes from the local organizers
Debbie May-Johnson, Executive Director, Eversight Ohio
“Eversight Ohio and the Cleveland Eye Bank Foundation are honored to be a partner host of the upcoming Transplant Games in Cleveland this June. We look forward to celebrating the thousands of recipients who have received the gift of sight and life and those donors and their families who made the gift possible. “
David Gilbert, President & CEO, Greater Cleveland Sports Commission
“Cleveland is becoming well known for its expertise in hosting multi-sport events and the Sports Commission is privileged to be a local organizer of the Transplant Games, which will bring thousands of visitors and over $8 million of economic activity to Northeast Ohio. Just as crucial is the spotlight the event will place on organ donation and transplantation and the Sports Commission is thrilled to do its part to increase the number of people on the organ donor registry.”
Gordon Bowen, CEO, Lifebanc
“It is the vision of Lifebanc to pursue the future when the decision to donate is an honor and everyone waiting receives a transplant. The collaboration for the 2016 Transplant Games in Cleveland will be a catalyst for increasing awareness, education and donor designations for organ, eye and tissue donation in our community and beyond.”