Why this picture? So you can see the scar!
Mr. Courtney Williams
Hello - my name is Kurt Wiltcher and I am asking for your support to go to the 2011 World Transplant Games in Sweden from June 18th - 24th. My wife, Sugi Wiltcher, is going with me. Contributions of any amount will be greatly appreciated. No amount is too small!
In June of 2002, I had just finished my sophomore year at South Jones High School with perfect attendance. I was working as a lifeguard and playing summer league baseball. I had volunteered as a lifeguard at Christian camp for counselor training week and had plans to return to camp two week later to lifeguard for the campers. During that two weeks, my eyes began to turn a faint yellow. A doctor at my church recommended that I see my family doctor. I didn't have a family doctor since I hadn't been sick since I was in the 4th grade. I was suppose to be leaving for camp on Monday at noon, so I agreed to see the doctor first thing Monday morning, just to satisfy my parents and get some medicine. My life changed with that one doctor's visit. The doctor ran several blood tests and asked me what seemed like a million questions. Needless to say, I didn't get to go to camp. I saw Dr. Danford everyday for a week. He ran more and more tests then transferred me to Jackson, where I was admitted to UMC on July 8th. After even more tests, I was transferred to University of Alabama Birmingham on July 11th. I met with Dr. Bynon, a liver surgeon. He said that considering my great physical condition, I couldn't have been sick for long and that he would probably put me on some medicine and send me home in a few days. He ran even more test. The next morning, he handed us the news. My liver had been shutting down for years and I needed a liver transplant. He said I wasn't going home without a transplant. For the next five weeks, I kept myself busy in the hospital by playing pranks on the nurses and visiting other patients. On August 15th, I had my transplant. Because of a few minor complications, I wasn't able to go home until the end of September. I returned to school in late October. Because of God's grace, I was back on the swim team nine weeks after my transplant. I missed qualifying for state by less than two seconds. I played soccer and baseball my junior and senior years and continued to play soccer in college.
I have been able to use my job and my participation in sports to tell my story and spread the word about the need for organ donors. I graduated from Delta State with a degree in business education then realized that I much preferred working with teens. I got my education certification and was hired by Velma Jackson High School in Madison County where I teach Biology I. In addition to teaching Biology, I am the kicking coach for the football team and the assistant baseball coach. I enjoy teaching and coaching. When I'm not working, I'm usually playing some type of sport. I bowl in a bowling league, play church league basketball and softball, and try to golf whenever I get the time. My love of sports and athletic skills helped me be a winner in the U.S. Transplant Games.
I attended the U.S. Transplant Games for the first time in 2004 and have participated in the 2006, 2008, and 2010 Games. I have been blessed to win 10 gold medals, 2 silver, and 2 bronze medals in a variety of sports including swimming, badminton, basketball, and bowling. At the 2011 World Transplant Games, I plan to compete in singles and doubles bowling and in a Swedish sport that is native to that country. During the 2010 Games, I won the GOLD medal in singles bowling. In 2010, I also won the silver medal in bowling in the State Games of Mississippi. I hope that I am able to bring the GOLD back to the USA in all of my competitions.
Thank you for all of your support and your interest in the Transplant Games. Please consider being an organ donor and help educate others about organ donation. I owe my life to an organ donor.
About Team USA the World Transplant Games
Team USA is this country's representative to the biennial World Transplant Games celebration of life that includes transplant recipients, their friends and families, living donors, donor families, transplant professionals and spectators from all over the world.
The World Transplant Games is the largest international athletics competition for recipients of all life-saving organ transplants. The Games serve to promote the health and fitness of its participants while showcasing the success of transplantation, highlighting the tremendous need for more organ and tissue donors, and honoring the thousands of selfless acts of love from donors and their families all over the world.
As much as the Games is an athletic event that calls attention to the success of organ and tissue transplantation, it is also a celebration of life among recipients, their families and friends as well as an opportunity to honor organ donors, without whose sacrifice thousands of individuals would not have survived.
The mission of the World Transplant Games® is to demonstrate the success of transplantation, honor those who have given the gift of life, and call attention to the need for more organ donors.
Funds raised will be used for TEAM USA, and local organ donation and transplantation-related activities.
- Nearly 100,000 people are currently on the waiting list in the United States.
- One tissue donor can help improve the lives of more than 50 people.
- An average of 18 people die each day from the lack of available organs for transplant.
- Every 12 minutes another person is added to the national transplant waiting list.
- More than two million Americans die each year, but only 15,000 die under circumstances that make them medically eligible to donate organs.
- Of the estimated 15,000 medically eligible to donate organs, only about 6,000 patients actually become donors.
- About 750,000 tissue transplants are performed each year in the United States.
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