Submitted information | For the Arkadelphian
GURDON — Austin Taylor, a kidney transplant recipient from Gurdon, won a silver medal, placing second in the darts competition at the Transplant Games of America held July 29 through August 3 in San Diego, California.
Taylor also participated in the basketball competition with fellow transplant recipients Anthony Freeman, a kidney recipient from Little Rock, and Ray Kimsey, a heart recipient from Searcy. The trio beat out several other teams during the competition.
The mission of the Transplant Games is to increase awareness of the life-restoring importance of organ, cornea, bone marrow, and tissue donation through the lives of the athlete-recipients and the lasting legacy of their donors.
Taylor traveled to California with members of the Arkansas Donor Family Council (ARDFC), a group of Arkansas donor families whose loved ones became organ and tissue donors following their death. The ARDFC works to provide support for other donor families and to promote organ and tissue donation awareness.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity that some of our ARORA family had the chance to attend and participate in the Transplant Games,” ARORA Family Aftercare Manager Beth Cameron said. “These games are a symbol of the life-restoring power of organ donation.”
The ARDFC sponsored several families to make the trip to San Diego. Donor families participated in the 3k and 5k run/walk for the opening ceremony and cheered on competitors while honoring the memory of a loved one who made the decision to become an organ donor.
The Transplant Games of America are hosted bi-yearly with 40 state teams and several international teams, made up of transplant recipients and living donors, competing in twenty athletic and recreational competitions.
Today, there are currently more than 106,000 patients waiting for a life-saving organ transplant; 300 of those waiting are here in Arkansas. Every 10 minutes, another person is added, and every day, 17 people die waiting for an organ that isn’t available.
ARORA serves 64 counties throughout the state. Sixty-four percent of eligible Arkansans are registered as organ, tissue and eye donors, but there is still a gap between the need and donation.
“When someone registers to become an organ, tissue and eye donor, they have the potential to save up to eight lives through organ donation and restore the lives of 75 or more through tissue donation,” said Audrey Coleman, director of communications for ARORA.
To learn more about ARORA or to register to become an organ, tissue and eye donor, visit www.arora.org/donatelife.
ARORA was established in 1987 as a nonprofit, independent organ procurement agency. Serving 64 counties across the state, ARORA is headquartered in Little Rock and has a satellite office in northwest Arkansas. ARORA’s mission is to restore lives through the recovery of organs and tissues for transplant. For more information, visit www.arora.org.