Barrington Athlete Ready for First Visit to Transplant Games
Posted Aug 24 2008 12:34am
Last week, I checked in with yPOD member and 27 year-old Barrington liver recipient (since 1998!) Jen Klouse to get an update before she heads off to Pittsburgh for the 2008 U.S. Transplant Games . This will be Jen's first trip to the Games and she'll be competing in coed teams for both basketball and volleyball as part of Team Illinois.
DLI :Describe how it feels to be competing in this year's Transplant Games?
Jen:It's the most incredible feeling in the world to know I am still here for a reason; and what better way to celebrate that than to be with those who have gone through similar experiences. I've learned to appreciate the small things in life on a daily basis because it applies to my life in such a strong way. Sometimes you never know when your life can be swept away from you and you don't have time to say goodbye to those you love or appreciate everything you have. Receiving this second chance at life has made me realize I serve a purpose being in this world.
Participating in the Games this year is going to be dedicated to two people I knew; Chase Coleman and my friend Alex. Chase and I went to school together; he was someone who was so full of energy; someone who had a great heart for others. He passed away and was an organ donor. Thanks to Chase, someone special received a new heart. I look forward to sharing my experiences at the Games with the Coleman family.
My friend Alex passed away a few months ago; he was someone I just met on MySpace . He emailed me because he was waiting for a transplant and he said reading my story helped him get through everything he was struggling with; he wasn't afraid anymore. He was actually a part of the Georgia team for the upcoming Games but unfortunately he passed away. So, in addition to the Colemans , I would like to share my memories of the Games with Alex's family.
Thanks for sharing and best of luck this coming weekend Jen! Your sheer presence in this world is an inspiration to us all. If you'd like to drop Jen a line of encouragement she's over on MySpace and you can also read more about Jen's transplant on our Illinois Donor Diaries page .