The Transplant Life Foundation, together with co-host NJ Sharing Network, Legacy sponsor Novartis Pharmaceuticals, and partners RWJBarnabas Health, Hackensack Meridian Health, University Hospital, Meadowlands Chamber and American Dream presented the Reimagined Donate Life Transplant Games from Friday, July 16, through Monday, July 19, 2021, at American Dream, the unrivaled entertainment/retail center in Bergen County, New Jersey.
The four days of in-person activities at American Dream, many of which were streamed online for viewers throughout the world, included heartwarming ceremonies to honor living donors, donor families, recipients, first responders and veterans and uplifting testimonials from those touched by organ, eye and tissue donation and transplantation. Artistic expressions to remember organ donors were also on display throughout American Dream, including Quilts of Love, a tribute wall of hopeful messages and painted stone dedications. Interactive fun for all ages included Zumba classes, mascot races, live music and stage performances.
Every two years, individuals from across the country gather to compete and celebrate the gift of life during the Transplant Games. Typically, the Games are an in-person, multi-sport festival featuring competitions for those who have received life-saving organ transplants, as well as bone marrow, corneal and tissue transplant recipients, and living donors. The Games in New Jersey were originally scheduled for July 2020, but were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, for the Reimagined Games, transplant recipients and living donors across the country participated remotely in competitions in their home cities since April, and the Games culminated in person during the four-day celebration at American Dream. Next summer, the 2022 Transplant Games of America will be held in San Diego, California.
“We were thrilled to have the opportunity to bring our transplant community together in person at American Dream to celebrate the gift of life and honor donors while we all work together to raise awareness of our mission of saving lives by reducing the number of individuals waiting for a transplant,” said Bill Ryan, President and CEO of the Transplant Life Foundation. “The Transplant Games are the ultimate representation of what we stand for: courage, achievement and triumph over adversity.”
Today, there are 110,000 individuals in the United States waiting for a life-saving transplant, with nearly 4,000 residents in New Jersey. Nationwide, 20 people die each day waiting for a transplant. To register as an organ, eye and tissue donor, visit www.NJSharingNetwork.org.