The first step to preparing the games was to get the transplant community notified.
"We spent a significant amount of time early on getting the word out to athletes, supporters and donor families, that the games were going on," Ryan said. "It was difficult because many of these people relied on the National Kidney Foundation offices to help in raising money to cover expenses and help organize the teams that come to the games. For many of them it was like being left out in the cold; they had to figure out how they were going to raise money, had to find a nonprofit 501(c)3 in order to become a fiduciary to hold their funds for them."
Even though Ryan and his board were there to help the teams and participants, a lot of the work had to be done on the athletes own time.
In addition to getting the word out, the second step was raising money. Spectrum Health, along with its children's hospital, Devos Children's Hospital, got on board with TGA. Spectrum Health is the largest healthcare provider in the area. For many years they have been doing heart transplants and just recently started a lung transplant program. In addition to the major sponsor, Saint Mary's Health Care, a smaller hospital that has been doing kidney transplants since 1973, became a key sponsor as well.
"To have a major heart/lung transplant program plus a major kidney transplant program in a town the size of Grand Rapids [190,000] is pretty phenomenal," Ryan said.