Three gold medals, a silver medal, a week with our donor mom, five full days of Canadian Transplant Games chaos with four kids between two and seven years old, two live radio interviews, a live appearance on television, an awesomely huge showing from Team Addison, a visit to the UBC Hospital Emergency Department (for Charlie – she’s ok), a beach picnic, hike in the woods, a few scrapes and bloody knees/noses along the way…WOW it’s been a fabulous seven days!! We are all still a little exhausted, but so many smiles and great memories.
Every Transplant Games experience is special and amazing. But there were a lot of reasons why this week was above and beyond. Most importantly, Addison’s donor mom Felicia and her two younger daughters Olivia and Moriah were able to come to Vancouver (first time to Canada) from Reno to take part. They really made it so special. A big part of the Games is about honouring donors and donor families, and to be able to have our donor family there in person when so many don’t know anything about their donors touched everyone. We did several media interviews this week to share the incredible story of Felicia, her daughter and our donor Audrey, and Addison.
The other reason it was so awesome – it was in our hometown!! Team Addison had a massive cheering section – Addison’s aunties and uncles, cousins, Lao Lao and Gong Gong, friends from school, friends of ours, their kids, co-workers, and so on…she was thrilled to see so many people there to support her. We know how busy everyone’s life is and we were honoured to see everyone taking time out of their schedules to come to the Games. We know this was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience because I don’t think we’ll see another Games in the city for a long time. Lao Lao and Gong Gong have made an awesome cheering section at the World Transplant Games, but their two extra voices yelling from the stands can’t beat a dozen or more!
And let’s not forget about the actual sports. Addison did a great job in all her events. There wasn’t a lot of competition in her age category (actually, there were exactly three of them LOL) so medalling was to be expected, but that didn’t make it less special for her. Her smiles while competing were pretty dazzling.
Seeing all our old transplant friends and meeting new ones is always the icing on the cake. We didn’t get to spend as much time as I would have liked socializing with our transplant family because I spent most of my spare time holed up in our room, on the computer, ‘working’ on my volunteer role as Communications Lead. But…there is always England next year for the World Transplant Games!
So there is the awesome week that was…all made possible because of organ donation. One of the most special events during the Games was the Donor Walk. Honouring donors and donor families, it’s a very small way to say thank you to those who have given us the gift of life. We always remember Audrey’s gift to Addison, but being able to show Felicia how Addison is living life to the fullest with that new heart and seeing Felicia’s joy in that is truly remarkable.
Elaine, Aaron, Addison and Charlie