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Valley families head to Transplant Games to compete

Donate Life transplant games
Posted at 4:44 AM, Jul 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-28 11:49:38-04

Starting Friday, Arizona families will compete at the 2022 Transplant Games.

The event happens every two years but was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic. This year, the games will be hosted in San Diego.

"I think there's a tremendous benefit," said Dr. Roosevelt Bryant, surgical director for the Heart Transplant Program at Phoenix Children's. "First and foremost, it's the opportunity to bring families together that have provided the gift...and gives you a really good idea to see the ability of these patients after they go through this transplant process."

During the games, transplant recipients and living donors form teams and compete in several categories.

Carie Semenko's 6-year-old daughter, Miela, received a heart transplant after being diagnosed with cardiomyopathy.

This will be Miela's first time competing.

"Honestly, any opportunity that we have to participate in these things that are so unique, we kind of jump at saying yes," said Semenko.

Melissa McQueen's son, Dylan, now 14, also received a heart transplant when he was a baby.

He previously competed at the event and gave one of his medals to his donor's family.

"I feel very blessed because I wouldn't be here without the help of their family," said Dylan.

"I'm glad I can do things like this because if I wasn't, I wouldn't be living life to its fullest," he added.

The Donate Life 2022 Transplant Games will start on July 29 and run through August 3.

For more information about becoming an organ donor, click here.