Imagine a 500-room hotel completely booked out for an international sporting event. That’s more than 1200 people in total, not to mention countless volunteers, event organizers, bus drivers, hotel staff. Now imagine if there was no organ donation. None of these people would be gathered here to celebrate the power of this incredible gift. This cavernous place would be empty. 799 athletes from more than 40 countries are here because of one reason only – the generosity of their donors. Addison is just one of them.
We are ending Day 3 of the World Transplant Games in Mar del Plata, Argentina as part of Team Canada. It has been a moving, joyous, and inspiring experience. Addison is the youngest competitor at the Games, which makes her a bit of a rock star. The Princess is loving the limelight and we are a little worried all this adoration is going straight to her head. She has even taken to pulling down her shirt to show other athletes her scar!
It is incredible to look around the dining room and realize it’s impossible to tell who are the athletes and who are the supporters. Everyone looks the same. Healthy and strong. The calibre of competition has also been impressive. As we cheered on our teammates in the 5k road race, there was that moment when the first runner was crossing the finish line in under 20 minutes that I thought, “Holy crap! All these people have had transplants!!” I can’t tell you what an awesome feeling that is.
Addison’s events are Friday and Saturday, but we are staying busy. There is a carousel and playground a block away, plus pin trading has become her new favourite thing. She is pretty ruthless, selecting her targets carefully, and usually scoring some pretty nice loot in exchange for her Canada pins or magnets. She talks about all the new friends she has met, some of whom are heart transplant buddies who are 20+ years out.
Emotions run high for everyone here and we are all thinking of our donors. Addison has even said to us Audrey has flown here to Mar del Plata and will be watching her race from up in the skies. We are most definitely feeling the love. ❤
Elaine, Aaron and Addison