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When Transplant Recipients Become Olympians

When Transplant Recipients Become Olympians

What do you need to do to be a winner?

Commercials for the 2018 Winter Olympics are popping up. This year it is especially interesting because North and South Korea will march together under one flag. They agreed to march under a “unified Korea” flag depicting an undivided Korean Peninsula.

I don’t watch the Olympics for the sports; for me it is about the human spirit. Many of the participants have overcome serious obstacles. In recent news, we heard about the horror that Simone Biles and other gymnasts endured when the team doctor repeatedly molested them. They aren’t the first, nor will be the last. Rape, molest and other acts’ of sexual misconduct aren’t just limited to females. It happens to males as well. And although the perpetrators are often men, women are capable of heinous acts too. Regardless, we need to speak up and take action to stop this.

Back to the Olympics. These games show the power of determination, dreaming, training, and support. The same elements that propel an athlete to compete in the world arena, are the same elements that all of us need to survive and thrive during illness. It’s not enough for me to rise above my medical conditions; I want to be healthy.

The trick about being healthy is that often you have to stretch yourself when you don’t feel like it. It may begin with getting out of bed when your body just wants to be horizontal. It can start with drinking a full glass of water when you’d rather have a soda. It may mean fighting the urge to watch an extra hour of your favorite show, and instead going to bed and treating your body to sufficient sleep.

When I need a boost, I think about athletes who participate in the World Transplant Games, Paralympics, and Special Olympics. They all started with disadvantages. My disadvantages are really minor compelled to losing a leg or nearly dying from organ failure. Each athlete started from ground zero.

If you are at ground zero, what first step will you take to begin your journey towards health? What do you need to do to be a winner?

Click here to see the results of the recent World Transplant Winter Games held in Switzerland.

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