Cleveland Hosts the 2016 Transplant Games This Week

Jun 12, 2016

Asia Werner from Cincinnati says participating in the Transplant Games is not only a celebration of her life, but of the generosity of her donor, Cole Hollenback.
Credit KABIR BHATIA / WKSU

The 2016 Transplant Games are going on this week in Cleveland, a celebration of both organ donors and recipients.

More than 3,000 people are expected to take part in 20 events including basketball, volleyball and track and field.

High school junior Asia Werner from Cincinnati is participating in those three and says being around so many transplant recipients feels like a family.

“The most common thing said is, ‘Which organ did you get?’  which I love. There’s a booth over there where -- if you forgot your medicine -- they’ll take care of it for you. Everyone gets to meet each other. We talk about our donors, and we just kind of show off.”

Werner adds that the games are as much a recognition of her quality of life as they are a tribute to the young boy whose heart she received when she was age 1.

Heart recipient Dana Reeder from Texas says receiving a transplant was not only a gift of life, but pushed her to take better care of herself.

“I basically eat clean.  It’s an easy way to say: no processed foods, no McDonald’s everyday. Coming from being highly active to having eight or 10 years of not being active, now I’m more active than I was.’

Reeder's participating in a long list of events.

The games continue through Wednesday at sites in and around the Convention Center, as well as at Case Western Reserve University.