St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital Transplant Patient Competes in the World Transplant Games in Sweden
St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital (SLEH) Cooley Transplant Center is rooting for one of its own as Amy Smith heads to Goteborg, Sweden to compete in the 18th World Transplant Games June 17-24, 2011. For more than 20 years, the World Transplant Games Federation has staged international sporting events for transplant athletes to demonstrate the physical success of transplant surgery and to raise awareness of the need to increase organ donation.
A resident of Cleveland, Texas, Smith received a kidney transplant at St. Luke’s Cooley Transplant Center on May 18, 2009, after three years on the waiting list. Her long journey began at the age of 16, when she was diagnosed with IgA Nephropathy, a kidney disease that causes scars in the filters of the kidney. Born with the condition, Smith was only diagnosed after being hospitalized for blood poisoning from a spider bite. By the age of 24, she was placed on the transplant list and began dialysis a year later. A true survivor, Smith received dialysis while working 40-hour weeks and continuing to live her life to the fullest.
Smith recounts her time at St. Luke’s Cooley Transplant Center, “During the most important and frightening time in my life, the St. Luke’s nurses, doctors and staff were there to help with questions and offer encouragement every step of the way.”
Recently celebrating the two-year anniversary of her transplant, Smith is enjoying life as she plans her upcoming wedding and spends time with her two sons. The highlight of her summer begins June 16th when she boards a plane to Sweden to compete in the World Transplant Games with more than 1,500 athletes representing 69 countries.
“I am excited that I have been given the opportunity to participate in the World Games. The games allow me to honor my donor, as well as promote the importance and success of organ donation,” explains Smith.
Smith will compete in shot put, discus, softball and volleyball during her time in Goteborg. A student at the University of Houston pursuing an accounting degree, Smith also serves as a volunteer for Life Gift and the National Kidney Foundation.
“We are extremely proud of Amy and wish her all the best as she represents the United States in this important global sporting event,” says Katherine A. Stark, Director of St. Luke’s Cooley Transplant Center.