When her mother needed a kidney transplant in 1996, Alice Siete-Nevel of Garden Prairie, Ill., didn’t think twice about becoming a living donor.
“Donating an organ to someone else is a big deal,” said Alice. “But back in the 90s, nobody talked about living donation and the idea of giving someone else an organ was a radical idea. I didn’t see it that way. This was my mother and even though I was a mother myself, I knew it was the right thing to do.”
Thanks to Alice’s gift, her mother lived another 11 years before passing away in 2007. Alice knows her mother is always watching over her and will be with her in spirit as she participates in the upcoming 2018 Transplant Games of America in Salt Lake City.
Alice has attended the Games since 2006. She’s earned six medals and is looking forward to getting a few more.
“I need eight more medals so that I can give one to each of my 14 grandkids,” she said. “I’m leaving them medals to keep my legacy going and to educate them about organ donation awareness.”
Alice, who serves as a volunteer for Gift of Hope Organ & Tissue Donor Network, wants to improve the living donation process and raise more awareness about living donation. Alice recently participated in a gathering to break the world record for the most number for living donors in one location through the Guinness Book of World Records.
Attending the Transplant Games also helps Alice showcase what life looks like after living donation and to encourage others to help people in need by either signing up to be registered organ donors or to consider becoming an altruistic living donor. During the games, Alice will participate in the bowling and softball tournaments on behalf of Transplant Life Illinois, an organization that brings together transplant recipients, living donors, donor families and team supporters on a regular basis to raise awareness of the need for donations of every kind — organ, tissue, cornea, bone marrow and blood.
“I want my grandkids to see what their grandma was able to accomplish and instill in them the importance of helping others in need,” said Alice. “I encourage everyone to attend and support the Transplant Games. Even if you don’t compete, going as a supporter really helps not only the athletes but you will find that you come away from this event forever changed for the better.”
Alice hopes more people watch the games when it’s streamed online through the Transplant Games of America website and learn something new about organ and tissue donation.
Gift of Hope applauds Alice and all the courageous athletes participating in the 2018 Transplant Games of America and honors all the donors whose generous gifts of organs and tissue have given new hope to people in need.