2016 Team Member - Tammy Rusznak/Tracy Meinert

As a young adult, I was doing the  normal things you might expect a 21 year old to be doing like attending college, hanging out with my friends and working.  I certainly didn’t fit the profile of someone who you would think would be affected by kidney disease, but I was.  In 1986, I was diagnosed with kidney failure and needed a kidney transplant.

I was fortunate to receive a kidney from my 22 year old sister, Tracy Meinert.  With her generous donation, I have been able to lead a healthy, productive life for more than 29 years.

Tracy’s gift of life has afforded me the opportunity to participate in the Donate Life Transplant Games. The Games has introduced me to some great new friends, and I look forward to reuniting with those friends every two years at the Games.

I have never considered myself to be an athletic person, but the Games have helped me  discover my athletic self, too.  I have competed in sports, like badminton, that I barely played as a youth and have found much enjoyment; I’m sure it’s the friends/competitors that I’m competing against that has something to do with that.  A living donor, friend, and teammate actually was the impetus for me to try badminton. So, you find encouragement everywhere you turn.  I have also competed in the 5K, swimming, track and field and bowling.  I went into it for the experience to be with so many people that I share a common connection with, but each time I have competed, I've been fortunate to win a medal. I have to say winning a medal is pretty cool, too!

You don’t have to be a super star athlete to compete.  I had the interest and desire to meet my peers from across the country.  I truly have the time of my life when I’m at the Donate Life Transplant Games. The compeitition brings us together, but it’s the stories of hope, strength and perseverance that are truly inspiring.

You have the Power to Donate Life.  It’s for those individuals who are waiting for a life saving organ transplant that I ask you to check YES on your driver license or register here online to be an organ donor.

Here are the Fast Facts: Over 121,000 people are on the organ transplant waiting list, more than 20,000 are waiting right here in California.  You can save up to 8 lives through organ donation and enhance the lives of up to 50 people through tissue and cornea donation.

You can make a difference in someone’s life.  Please make the decision to be an organ, eye and tissue donor by registering today.

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2016 TGA Sports