MAYWOOD, Ill. -- Nathan Weimer, a patient at Loyola University Medical Center who has undergone transplants of both lungs and one kidney, has won a bronze medal for bowling in the 2011 World Transplant Games.
Weimer, 21, of Naperville, Ill., rolled 480 in three games, an average of 160 per game. The 2011 games were held in Sweden, and Weimer plans to compete in the 2013 Transplant Games in South Africa.
"I told him to bring home another medal," said Dr. James Gagermeier, medical director of Pulmonary Medicine, who is providing Weimer’s long-term follow-up care.
"Nathan has a very positive attitude," Gagermeier added. "He has dealt with a lot of adversity with great resilience."
Weimer was born with cystic fibrosis, a disease in which thick, sticky mucus builds up in the lungs and other organs. At age 9, he underwent a double-lung transplant. The medications he took to prevent rejection led to kidney failure, so he underwent a kidney transplant when he was 16.
Weimer has bowled in leagues since he was 9. He now belongs to two winter leagues and one summer league and averages 210 per game. Last January, he rolled a perfect 300 game (12 consecutive strikes). He hopes to join the Professional Bowlers Association tour some day, if he can get his average up to around 215. Weimer's performance in the Transplant Games was significantly below his normal scores.
"It was a rough day for me," he said. "I was tired from the flight and was mentally off my game."
But he still had a great time.
"There were athletes from all over the world," he said. "I enjoyed meeting people like me who have had life-changing transplants."
Weimer works at a UPS store. Coworkers there, along with members of his church, helped sponsor his trip to Sweden. With so many supporters, he was glad to bring back a bronze medal. But next time, he said, he plans to bring back the gold.