Image Gallery: Transplant Games 2012
In 1990, Novartis, a pharmaceutical company, approached the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) in New York and asked them to run the first ever Transplant Games of America. In May 2011, NKF announced that they were suspending the games, mostly due to financial reasons.
T.J. Maciak, a kidney recipient and transplant athlete, from Grand Rapids, Mich., was upset at the cancellation of the games that he approached West Michigan Sports Commission. The commission gathered and on August 23, 2011 they notified the transplant community that the games would be hosted in Grand Rapids.
Bill Ryan, president and COO of Bill Ryan Marketing Group, a company that does major sporting events in Grand Rapids, was approached by the commission to be the chairman. He had 11 months to put the games on along with the committee. Ryan, who lost his daughter in 1986, decided to be the chairman for the games. She was an organ donor.
Disclosure: All photos, except the photo of Bill Ryan and T.J. Maciak, were taken by Mary Taber Lind, Spectrum Health. Photos of Ryan and Maciak were taken by Melissa Dodoro.