Santa Monica Mirror columnist Tom Elias has returned home with a bunch of medals from the bi-annual Transplant Games of America in Houston, TX, held July 12-15.
Representing the 32-athlete Team Southern California in his ninth Transplant Games, Elias won three gold medals in his age class (50 and 100 yard breaststroke, long jump) and a silver in the 100 meter dash.
“The medals are nice, and you always want to go all-out in any endeavor, or why bother?” Elias said. “I feel very fortunate my transplant allows me to run, jump, swim and do a lot of other things, when I would have been dead years ago without it. But the real thrill is being among the other transplant athletes, both live donors and recipients. These are survivors, and their spirit is almost always upbeat. It’s an honor to be part of the Games and a privilege to have been doing it as long as I have.”
The Transplant Games of America is a multi-sport festival for individuals who have undergone life-saving transplant surgeries, showcasing the success of transplantation.
Competition events are open to donors, organ transplant recipients, bone marrow recipients, and a limited number of corneal and tissue transplant recipients.