Transplant Recipient Stories
The Donate Life Transplant Games of America were held in San Diego, CA on July 29-August 3, 2022. This event occurs every two years and brings together people all around the nation who have been a connection to organ, eye and tissue donation and transplantation. This year was especially exciting as the Games hadn’t been held since 2018!
Team Rocky Mountain
Representing Colorado, Wyoming and Montana, Team Rocky Mountain, was comprised of 11 people. The team had a blast this year and proudly took home many medals. They competed in a variety of events. These events ranged from running, to track and field, to ballroom dancing and Texas Hold’em. Overall, Team Rocky Mountain brought home 30 medals from the San Diego Transplant Games: 15 gold, 11 silver, and 4 bronze. Additionally, they finished 9th in the team cup award.
Most Rocky Mountain Team members reside in Colorado, and it was exciting to see the camaraderie develop among the team and their loved ones. Many members of Team Rocky Mountain expressed how touching the experience of the Transplant Games was for them to be with the thousands of people who are connected by their stories and so grateful to be alive. Many made new friends all over the nation and friends they hope to meet again at the next games.
Yvette Matthews – Former Advocate for Life and Transplant Games Contestant
Former team member and Advocate for Life, Yvette Matthews, came home with a bronze medal in the 5k race, a silver in 1500m race walk and team trivia, and gold medals in shotput, long jump, softball throw, discus, and 100m run for Team North Carolina. Yvette is a liver recipient who was featured in our My Hero Said Yes campaign. We are excited for her and our partners at Donate Life North Carolina.
Yvette started participating in the games in 2014 when they were held in Houston, TX. The games in San Diego were her 5th games to date. Yvette is the “most proud of [her] gold medal in the 100m race because this year was the first time that [she] participated in this event since Houston where [she] came in 4th place.”
In 2001, Yvette was diagnosed with a rare liver disease called Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis. During this time, she was put on the transplant list in 2006 and got a liver transplant at University of Colorado Hospital from an anonymous donor in 2013. By participating in the games, Yvette’s goal is to “honor [her] donor by living a full life. It is important for people to know that there is life after transplant.”
Yvette tells us, “the Transplant Games of America are a great way for people in the transplant community to get together every 2 years. You don’t have to be an athlete to participate. Non-sport events include, ballroom dancing, team trivia, corn hole, lyrics for life, quilt making, darts, and Texas Hold‘em. You just have to get to the games and let the momentum of the people and the atmosphere of the crowd carry you along for a week of adrenaline that can’t be matched anywhere.”
If you are interested in attending the Transplant Games of America as a participant, please visit the Transplant Games of America website or email Michael Wells with Team Rocky Mountain at