Coopersburg resident Don Ehnot was among 148 transplant recipients from eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware to compete as part of Team Philadelphia 2008 at this year's 2008 U.S. Transplant Games in Pittsburgh from July 11-16, it was recently announced by the Gift of Life Donor Program.Team Philadelphia was the largest team to participate in the games, which are a biennial, Olympic-style competition for anyone who has received a life-saving organ transplant.
During the 2006 games in Louisville, Kentucky, more than 1,000 participants ranging in age from two to 85 competed in wide variety of events.
Overall at this year's games, Ehnot was awarded three gold medals and one silver medal in track and field events.
Ehnot, the recipient of a heart transplant, said that since receiving a new heart he has become more active and learned how to "stop and smell the roses."
Ehnot said he has also become more empathetic and understanding toward others since receiving his transplant.
Team Philadelphia, of which Ehnot was a member, is organized by Gift of Life, the region's nonprofit organ procurement organization and the National Kidney Foundation of the Delaware Valley, Inc., to highlight the success of organ transplantation and to draw attention to the critical shortage of organ and tissue donors.
Gift of Life coordinates organ and tissue donation and transplantation throughout the eastern half of Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware. For the last 34 years, Gift of Life has served as a link between donors and patients awaiting transplants, coordinating more than 26,000 organ transplants and tens of thousands of tissue transplants.
For more information on Gift of Life, call 1-800-DONORS-1 or visit www.donors1.org.
Currently, according to Gift of Life, there are nearly 5,300 patients waiting for a life-saving organ transplant in the tri-state area, and more than 99,000 waiting nationally.
-Information provided courtesy of Gift of Life