Catty resident takes gold at 2018 Transplant Games
Paul Albert, of Catasauqua, won a gold medal during the 2018 Transplant Games of America, held Aug. 2-7 in Salt Lake City, Utah.
He won gold as part of the golf team while representing Lehigh, Northampton and Berks counties on Team Philadelphia.
Albert received a double lung transplant in 1993.
There were 12 competitors from the Lehigh Valley on Team Philadelphia, which covered eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware.
The Transplant Games celebrate life and the success of organ donation. Many of the athletes are living donors, organ transplant recipients or bone marrow, corneal and tissue transplant recipients. The games are played every other year.
“It is so inspiring to see hundreds of people from our area and thousands from across the country come together to celebrate the success of organ donation and transplantation. There are so many incredible stories, and every one of those stories started the same way: with someone who selflessly said yes to donation. I am so grateful to our community for its outstanding record of generosity in donation and so proud of the many athletes who participated this year,” said Howard M. Nathan, president and CEO of the Gift of Life Donor Program.
Athletes compete in sports such as track and field games, swimming, basketball, golf, ballroom dancing and more.
Team Philadelphia was able to win a total of 150 medals. There were 69 gold medals, 43 silver medals and 38 bronze medals.
Albert was joined by Mark Payson, of Whitehall; Michael Seidick, of Northampton; Jeffrey Marsh, of Hamburg; Todd Stickel, of Macungie; and Al and Vicki Piccotti, of Martins Creek.
The remaining five residents of the Lehigh Valley attended as donor families in honor of their loved ones.
Gift of Life Donor Program is a nonprofit, federally designated organ procurement organization that serves 11.2 million people in this region. This region’s annual donation rate ranks among the highest in the world, according to the organization. Since 1974, Gift of Life has coordinated more than 46,000 lifesaving organs for transplant, and approximately one million tissue transplants have resulted from the generosity of donors and their families.
Approximately 115,000 Americans are waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant, and 5,300 men, women and children in this region are currently waiting. According to the organization, one organ donor can save the lives of up to eight people, and a tissue donor can enhance the lives of more than 75 others.
Gift of Life continues to work in partnership with hospitals and health care systems to increase donation opportunities in the region. Through its dedication and tireless work, health care partners — both at the 130 acute care hospitals and 15 transplant centers in the region — help Gift of Life save lives.
The next games will take place July 17-22, 2020, at the Meadowlands in New Jersey.