WHITE ROCK, BC (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – The only worldwide athletic competition for organ transplant recipients will get underway in less than three weeks in Banff, Alta.
Hosted by the Canadian Transplant Association (CTA), the 11th World Winter Transplant Games will happen Feb. 23-28. This is the first time in the 22-year history of the event that they are being held in North America.
And among the 17 countries who will send a total of nearly 100 transplant athletes to Alberta this year, Canada will supply the largest contingent, brags CTA president Brenda Brown.
“This is only the second time the games have been held outside Europe,” she adds. “To say we’re excited is an understatement.”
Her volunteer staff has been super busy, she explains, and as the date of the opening events draws ever closer, they will become even busier. In addition to all the advance work such a world-class event demands, she says they will be assisting in the accommodation of participants, families, sponsors, donors, fans and volunteers in a variety of winter sports – from Alpine skiing and snowboarding to cross-country skiing and curling.
Brown is delighted that the Town of Banff and Banff National Park will be hosting the participants, as well as co-ordinating the opening ceremonies, the parade of the athletes, and the closing gala. “These folks have so much experience organizing winter games and looking after foreign visitors,” she explains. “It’s reassuring to work with veterans like these.”
The region too is well equipped to handle the games, she says. Alpine events will be held on the slopes of Mt. Norquay, while cross country skiing and biathlon events will happen at the Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park. Fenlands Banff Recreation Centre will be the location of the curling competitions.
An event that resonates particularly with Ms. Brown is the Nicholas Cup for Children, for transplant recipients age five to 16. She loves to watch the young athletes race in their own downhill slalom.
“These games are a celebration of life,” Brown says. “They demonstrate that transplant recipients and donors will not only live normal lives, they can excel.”
The Canadian Transplant Association is a registered charitable organization founded in 1987. Its goal is to enrich and celebrate life while promoting organ and tissue donation. The members include transplant recipients, candidates on transplant wait lists, donor families, living donors, families, friends and health care professionals.