Team Philly contingent 250 strong at 2018 Transplant Games of America

Jim Melwert
August 02, 2018 - 6:51 pm
2018 Transplant Games of America

Jim Melwert | KYW Newsradio

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SALT LAKE CITY (KYW Newsradio) — Teams from across the country are arriving in Salt Lake City for the 2018 Transplant Games of America, celebrating organ donation and raising awareness of the need for donors. 

Team Philly with the Gift of Life Donor Program is once again the largest traveling team at the Transplant Games of America with around 250 members. 

While they're called the Transplant Games — and they center on all kinds of activities from swimming, track and field, and basketball, to darts, bowling, even ballroom dancing — it’s about a lot more than the competition.

The games bring organ and tissue recipients, living donors, and donor families — the loved ones who gave their organs after they died — together from across the country and even different parts of the world.

Dave Kennedy from Allentown is at his seventh Transplant Games. His son, Dave Kennedy, Jr., was killed in a car accident on his way home from college in 1992 and donated tissue to 44 different people. Kennedy Sr. coaches Team Philly’s 13-and-under basketball team, all kids who have received transplants.

"Watching these kids, the joy and excitement they get out every day on the court," he said. "And my son loved to play basketball, so I can equate what my son was doing and what these kids are doing."

Team Philly’s Faith Carlin is celebrating 26 years since she received a pancreas and kidney. This is her eighth Transplant Games, but she still gets emotional talking about the donor families.

"And just letting them know how thankful the recipients are because all the recipients just love our donor families," she added. "I can hardly talk just thinking about it. After all these years, the emotions never go away because the feelings of gratitude never go away."

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KYW Newsradio's Jim Melwert, a living kidney donor, is competing with Team Philadelphia.