July, 2019

Transplant Games News!

One Year Out Press Conference

Leaders of the 2020 Transplant Games Local Organizing Committee held a press conference to announce the “One Year Out Launch” of the 2020 Donate Life Transplant Games, being held in New Jersey, July 17-22, 2020. Close to 250 people from the New Jersey and New York metro area gathered at the headquarters for the New Jersey Sharing Network, to get updates on the planning for the Games. Members of Team Liberty and Team Gotham were on hand, as were key partners, American Dream, Meadowlands and Newark Chambers, Prudential Center, New Jersey Expo Center and the Berkeley Swim Club. Attendees and media received up-to-date information on venues as planning teams continue to wrap up critical negotiations. The following locations have been confirmed:

American Dream- TGA Village and Expo
Prudential Center- Opening Ceremonies
NJ Performing Arts Center- Donor Tribute
NJ Exposition Center- Basketball, Volleyball, Pickleball, and More
Berkeley Aquatics Center- Swimming
Riggins Memorial Field – Track and Field

Lead sponsor Novartis Pharmaceutical, key hospital partners, Hackensack Meridian Health, RWJ Barnabas Health, and University Hospital were all present in support of what is expected to be the largest and best attended Transplant Games in history.
Transplant Games App

The Transplant Games of America has officially released its TGA App! You can download the app for free by searching “Transplant Games of America” in the Apple App Store for iPhones or the Google Play Store for Android phones. The app is intended for anyone but is specifically tailored to current Transplant
Game’s participants, and to attract a new audience interested in organ donation awareness and life after transplant. The app will be a useful resource leading up to the 2020 Games, during the Games and even after the Games. Be sure to check it out and download it now!
Competition Information

Leading up to the Transplant Games in July 2020, we will be featuring one to two sports in the newsletter. Our goal will be to highlight important rules, provide updates on any changes to the format, as well as increase interest in the competition. When registering for the Games, be sure to review each of the sports you will be participating in for final decisions on competition rules.

Trivia and Youth Olympiad

Trivia has been a growing competition each year at the Games, and it is about to grow evenmore. Recently, it was announced that Donor Families and Living Donor Families will be allowed to compete in a limited number of competitions, with Trivia being one of those. Currently, the plan is to hold two separate Trivia competitions on separate days. One for Division 1 and Division 2 athletes and the other for Donor Families and Living Donor Families.

Each Trivia team is made up of 6 to 8 players from a specific TGA Team. Participants must be part of their respective TGA Team to be eligible for the competition. Teams must also be formed ahead of time, and pre-registered. There will be no on-site forming of teams or walk ups. 

Youth Olympiad:
To encourage youth participation, the Transplant Games offers the Youth Olympiad competition. Open to ages 10 and under, the Youth Olympiad is a fun and exciting event for the kids. Solid organ recipients, living donors, bone marrow recipients, cornea recipients and tissue recipients are all eligible. Every kid that competes will be awarded a medal, and first, second and third place overall winners will also receive additional medals in their appropriate age category. Below are some of the events that will be included in the competition: 

  • Obstacle Course
  • 50 Yard Dash
  • Disc Throw
  • Pool Noodle Javelin
  • and more!

Honor the Journey

The theme of the 2020 Donate Life Transplant Games is “Honor the Journey.” Everyone involved in the transplant community shares a journey through uncertainty, sorrow and celebration. Patients, donor families, living donors, caregivers and medical professionals all have unique journeys, but the Games unite all of these groups.

Over the next year, leading up to the 2020 Games, TransplantNATION magazine will highlight stories from different people who are willing to let us in on their journey. We celebrate the medical miracle of transplant, but we know the trek is arduous. Share the tears and share the victories. It is all part of the journey. Please send your stories to Josh Sweedyk at j.sweedyk@transplantLF.org .
Student Organ Donation Advocates: SODA

If you have never heard of Student Organ Donation Advocates, you need to. Sara Miller (’18), Bryan Naelitz ('16) and Luke Zabawa ('16) founded SODA: Student Organ Donation Advocates, at Washington University in St. Louis, MO in 2014. SODA has now grown to include a network of 16 chapters. SODA continues to grow and engage students through educational events and organ donor registration drives. With passionate leaders at the helm of each campus chapter, SODA chapters are making a difference in the donation and transplant community.

TransplantNATION magazine had the privilege to interview SODA’s president Sara Miller and publish an article on the organization’s amazing work. Miller began educating on organ donation long before SODA’s beginning, “I came into college with that passion,” Sara said. The creation of SODA was due in great part to a tragic, yet uplifting event that enlightened Miller and her family on the importance of organ donation. To read the entire article, subscribe to TransplantNATION magazine today.


TransplantNATION magazine’s Passages page pays tribute to many milestones reached by individuals in our community. We intend to share news of births, marriages, anniversaries, transplant anniversaries, deaths, and any other significant announcements that celebrate the gift of life or acknowledge the support an individual(s) has given to the organ, eye and tissue donation and transplantation world.

If you have a tribute you would like to share in an upcoming Passages page, please send your information (75-100 words or less) to Josh Sweedyk at 

Transplant Life Foundation and Transplant Games of America would like to thank you for your support of our mission. The work that we do to educate the public and bring awareness about donation and transplantation would not be possible without your help and commitment.