Bringing the games to Madison was four years in the making. Trey Schwab is co-chair of the local transplant games committee. He says the bidding process took over two years, and the preparation took two more years. He says the purpose of the games is three-fold: donor awareness, fun gathering, and to promote the online donor registry. “It’s a little bit of everything but the real mission behind it is to inspire people to register to be organ, eye and tissue donors.”
Each person can save eight lives with just their organ donation, but Schwab says there is even more potential to help or save more lives. “By donating your eyes you can give sight back to two different people; and through some of the bone and skin and tissue that you’re able to donate a normal person can sometimes help 80 to 100 people with that donation.”
Schwab says the games will help to highlight Wisconsin’s first online donor registry: Yes-I-will-Wisconsin.com. In addition to donor awareness, Schwab says the games will have a significant economic impact. “It is a rather large event, pretty much … typical to an Ironman style event in terms of the impact.”
More than 1,500 athletes — all transplant recipients — are expected to compete for “Team Wisconsin” in the 2010 U.S. Transplant Games to be held in Madison, with more than 7,500 total athletes.
The games run from July 30th through August 4th in Madison.