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The Transplant Games are coming

(Cuyahoga County) - Cleveland will play host to a unique sporting event. The Transplant Games will be held here in 2 years.

Officially called, the Donate Life Transplant Games is expected to bring thousands touched by organ, tissue and cornea donation to Cleveland in the summer of 2016, the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission announced Tuesday.

The event will involve an estimated 9,000 visitors participating in over 20 events and ancillary activities throughout Greater Cleveland.

The Transplant Games is projected to provide $5-8 million of economic activity to the region. The Sports Commission will manage the event with extensive support from local partners Lifebanc, Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals.

The biennial Transplant Games aim to raise awareness for the life-altering benefits brought through the transplantation of organs, tissue and corneas.

Organ transplants save thousands of lives each year and the Transplant Games celebrate the gift of life and honor donors and their families.

The event also provides a platform for education on organ and tissue donation. 120,000 people in the United States are currently awaiting a life-saving organ transplant and donor registry lists in every state need continued growth.

The 2016 Transplant Games will feature a minimum of 18 events in addition to numerous ancillary activities, including opening and closing ceremonies, donor recognition events and several receptions.

Many events and activities will take place in Downtown Cleveland, with area universities also serving as venues. Exact event locations will be announced at a later date. The 2016 Games will be the 14th edition of the event with Houston hosting The Games in July 2014.

“Our community’s proven ability to host major events, outstanding healthcare industry and status as a traveler destination make Cleveland an outstanding site for the 2016 Donate Life Transplant Games,” David Gilbert, President and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission told Newsradio WTAM 1100. “The event will infuse $5-8 million into our local economy, provide an opportunity for 9,000 visitors to experience Cleveland and raise awareness for a cause that saves or improves tens of thousands of lives each and every year. The partnership between the Sports Commission, Lifebanc, Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals will allow Cleveland to hold an event that will simply wow its participants and supporters. Hosting the Transplant Games in 2016 is another huge win for our city.”

Gilbert said, Cleveland was selected to host the event due to its potential venues, lodging options, public transportation, flight pricing and schedules, and driving distance from other markets. 12 other cities submitted official bids to host the event and Cleveland was one of three finalists. Cleveland also benefitted from having world-class transplant centers at both Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals.

As Northeast Ohio’s organ procurement organization, Lifebanc will provide leading assistance in managing the event. Lifebanc has continually supported the Transplant Games throughout the event’s history and will be using the 2016 Transplant Games to greatly increase the number of people on the state of Ohio’s donor registration list.

The Transplant Games is the latest in a long line of large-scale, multi-sport events brought to Northeast Ohio by the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission. Similar events hosted by the Sports Commission since 2000 include the 2004 International Children’s Games, 2007 World School Games and 2013 National Senior Games.

(Photos by Staff/WTAM)

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