MAYWOOD, IL – Four years ago at the Donate Life Transplant Games of America, liver transplant patient Geno Bianchi won gold medals in volleyball and doubles bowling and a silver medal in basketball.
Mr. Bianchi, 28, will be competing in the same three events in the 2016 Transplant Games June 10-15 in Cleveland. This year, he hopes to win three golds.
“I’m very excited to be going again,” said Mr. Bianchi, who lives in Elmhurst, Illinois. Mr. Bianchi underwent a liver transplant at Loyola University Medical Center in 2010 after suddenly experiencing liver failure.
A second Loyola transplant patient, Donna Stout, also will compete for Team Illinois in the 2016 Transplant Games. Ms. Stout received a heart transplant in 2007.
The Transplant Games promote awareness for organ and tissue donation and showcase transplantation as a treatment that works. Competition is open to transplant recipients who have received transplants at least nine months prior to the games and have been cleared by their doctors to participate. Living donors also can compete.
In preparation for the 2016 Transplant Games, Mr. Bianchi has been bowling and playing basketball regularly. His bowling average is 175. On the basketball court, he’s a 5-foot-7-inch shooting guard.
Ms. Stout, 58, has competed in the 2010, 2012 and 2014 Transplant Games in various events, including swimming, corn hole (bean bag toss), trivia and badminton. This year, she will compete in the 50-meter backstroke, corn hole, bocce ball and darts events.
“I’m hoping to win a medal this year in something,” she said. “But even if I don’t, the Transplant Games is an amazing thing to attend and be a part of.”