Did you know that today there are 115,000 people in the United States and nearly 4,000 people in New Jersey waiting for a life-saving transplant? In fact, each day, 20 people in the country die waiting for a transplant.
While in New Jersey alone there are more than 2.5 million registered organ and tissue donors, there is still very much an urgent need for more to register. This is why NJ Sharing Network, the nonprofit organization responsible for the recovery and placement of donated organs and tissue, has made public awareness campaigns a major part of the work it does in addition to working closely with hospitals and transplant centers.
The number of organs recovered in New Jersey for transplant has quadrupled since the time NJ Sharing Network was founded in 1987. And soon NJ Sharing Network will help present the largest organ awareness event that the state has seen.
In 2020, the Meadowlands will host the Donate Life Transplant Games from July 17-22, bringing together over 12,000 transplant recipients, living donors, donor families and supporters to compete and celebrate life right here in the Meadowlands—offering awareness here in New Jersey and throughout the country!
“We feel it’s going to raise the level of awareness around organ and tissue donation and the need for more people, here in New Jersey and throughout the country, to join the donor registry. Hosting the Games here will certainly get this much-needed conversation started around the dinner table. It’s a very important conversation for people to have—and we’re thrilled to be hosting!” said NJ Sharing Network Vice President & Chief Administrative Officer Elisse Glennon.
In order to secure the multi-sport festival, NJ Sharing Network took the lead in preparing a bid and formally apply to host through The Transplant Games of America. To complete the bid, NJ Sharing Network collaborated with Meadowlands Live! | Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Meadowlands Chamber and other local partners to identify the various facilities and tourism assets that would help make the persuasive case for the Meadowlands as a viable host location for the Games.
“There were many compelling bids to host the Transplant Games but it was clear that the Meadowlands Live! | Convention & Visitors Bureau and NJ Sharing Network were the right partners to make this the best Transplant Games ever. NJ Sharing Network’s leadership enables them to consistently deliver extraordinary results in areas that include education, fundraising, public policy, medical services and more. We know they’ll put that same rigor and excellence behind the Transplant Games,” said Bill Ryan, president and chief executive officer of the Transplant Games of America, an initiative of the Transplant Life Foundation.
Ryan added that the Meadowlands drew the Games with its top-level facilities and unparalleled access to the greater metro New York area. As such, the event will attract national and local media for maximum exposure. There’s also a myriad of transportation options and conveniences for those traveling from all over the country to participate.
“The Meadowlands location will serve as a magnet for participants and spectators who want to visit local attractions—from the Big Apple to the Jersey Shore,” said Ryan.
The Transplant Games of America will execute over 20 competitions here in the Meadowlands as well as a full program of special events. It is also anticipated that the Games will incorporate some unique “winter” competitions as part of the American Dream project, which will have a ski dome.
“The Transplant Games are the ultimate representation of what we stand for: courage, achievement and triumph over adversity,” said Joe Roth, president and chief executive officer of NJ Sharing Network. “These Games will be an awe-inspiring demonstration of the power of life, in some cases literally passed from one participant to the next. They will embrace the entire transplant community—healthcare providers, recipients, donors, donor families, patients waiting for transplants, organizations like ours and other supporters in a shared mission to highlight the need for and the life-saving benefits of organ and tissue donation.”
Securing the bid for the Games has motivated a sense of pride for the region’s business community, offering the distinct opportunity to give back, help make the event a success and, of course, support the worthy cause of organ donation awareness.
“Hosting the Transplant Games, ‘live from the Meadowlands,’ home of world renowned major sporting events, will not only showcase the incredible competitors but it will elevate the awareness and importance of organ and tissue donation advancing the Donate Life cause. We are extremely honored and proud to be a partner of the 2020 games,” said Jim Kirkos, President and chief executive officer of the Meadowlands Chamber.
Lead partners for the Games include NJ Sharing Network, Hackensack Meridian Health, RWJ Barnabas Health, Novartis, American Dream, Meadowlands Chamber of Commerce and the Meadowlands Live! | Convention and Visitors Bureau.
With the Games being a high-exposure national event, there will also be numerous opportunities for businesses and professionals to get involved, contribute and be part of the excitement!
“To have the chance to celebrate with those who have been given a second chance at life or with others whose family member or friend has given life to another, that changes you. I feel so lucky that I get to tell their donation stories to the world,” said Sue Brady of BadAss Media & Meetings, the production company for the Transplant Games of America. “And as a business owner, my team and I get to choose how the company impacts the community, and we choose to help others. Besides, who wouldn’t want to help save a life?”
Representing the region will be athletes from Team Liberty, a program of the NJ Sharing Network that participates and volunteers in local events all year round and attends the Donate Life Transplant Games. The last Transplant Games of America was in 2018 in Salt Lake City.
Stay tuned for more updates from NJ Sharing Network and Meadowlands Magazine about this exciting event and for opportunities to get involved!
For more information about the games, please visit: www.transplantgamesofamerica.org