Approximately 6 months ago, I clicked the necessary buttons and filled the necessary paperwork to sign up to compete for the first time in the 50 free and 100 free at the Transplant Games of America held in Grand Rapids, Michigan from July 28th-July 31st.
Clicking and filling were the easy parts.
The process and preparation for the Transplant Games of America have been a difficult and tumultous roller coaster that had me squealing with joy when I learned a new stroke and then broken down in tears when my body showed me when it was boss yet again.
Courtesy of Club Fit, I was assigned a swim trainer. I started off with gusto, prescription goggles, and flippers, but the flip turns became the ultimate and bullying enemies that eventually led to cutting off my swim training completely and a two-day and all-body muscle spasm from the neck down that left me bed-bound and pitying myself. After that disastrous physical episode, I began to self-train physically, mentally, and emotionally. I followed the mental mantras of:
"Lift arms out of water to slice in"
Fast Forward to July when my avid and outstanding swimmer sister came into the picture to pitch in some swim tips and strokes and her top notch sisterly and swimmer advice:
"Mary, we were born to swim. We are buoyant Wu gals. We have the power to move water. When you have that power, you can do anything in the water. And, you will. Above all else, believe in yourself and go for the finishing gold. Just doing it and finishing it is a big deal. "
Then, off my sister went diving into the water with me following her as we moved the water back and forth with our hands and bodies in an oddly powerful and yet effortless movement.
Now, it is less than a week until I will be in Grand Rapids, Michigan with my beloved Team Liberty Members and the Transplant Games of America will kick-off with a stupendous and significant opening ceremony that will have crowds and crowds of cheers from organ transplant recipients, organ donor families, and living donors. Even after finally picking up Team Liberty uniform this past weekend from one of my fellow team mates who happens to be a Priest who donated one of his kidneys to a stranger, I am still in numbed disbelief that I am attending and, above all else, actually COMPETING.
After all this practicing, preparing, swim drills, mental mantras, stroke honing, and now actually packing for my trip, the excitemenet and nerves are bubbling over like a volcano ready to erupt. I have attempted to simmer my "high on life" demeanor about this really happening by putting my energies ito this video clip I created of my Team Liberty uniform and swim attire. Feel free to it out here: http://youtu.be/fsihQ1UA2EI
I have also been glued to the Transplant Games of America weekly email newsletters, and the biggest news that has been the catalyst for my "high on life" demeanor is that the opening and closing ceremonies of the Transplant Games of America will be broadcasted or live steamed here: http://viewer.dacast.com/broadcaster/12473/c/12035. The opening ceremony is on July 28th, and the closing ceremony is on July 31st-- both at 7PM Eastern Time.
Yet, broadcasting aside, the magnitude, importance, beauty, and fun of the Transplant Games of America boils down to the people that have worked diligently to make the games happen, the people who have cheered and supported me every step and every day of these past six months, and anyone even remotely related to the transplant field. The proof in the cheerleading skills of people is evident from my friends and family members who contributed to my Organ Donation & Transplant Cause at the Transplant Games of America: http://www.kintera.org/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=1015520&lis=1&kntae1015520=68984425B6AB4CB193D87C8849D09478&supId=359074834. It is definitely not too late to contribute!! I am forever thankful to all those that have taken the time to check out the page and contribute, but it is not and never about the money-- rather it is about the action that people have taken. Such actions are from those who have visited and contributed to my fundraising page to people who have asked me about the games/Team Liberty/my Swim Training and Mental Preparation to the people who have rooted me on with verbal sweetness and encouragement and to the people who have asked about organ donation and transplantation and make that movement to actually register as an organ donor. Because, in the end when it comes to these Transplant Games of America and me participating in the swim competitions, I swim and go there to save over 114,000 individuals who are waiting for a life-saving organ, for all the heroes in caregivers, organ donor families, healthcare professionals, and living donors, and especially for my organ donor families who are with me every single day in my thoughts and everything I do. To save a life, go to www.donatelife.net to find out how to register as an organ donor.
I was born with many things. I was born with chronic kidney failure/end stage renal disease and left hip dysplasia that led to avascular necrosis and osteoarthritis. I was born as a daughter, sister, cousin, niece, loyal friend, and American-Born Chinese girl. I have survived and I live to be happy, healthy, share my life stories, and make a difference in the best of ways out of all my experiences professionally and personally.
As the Transplant Games of America await me, I am confident that I was born to swim as my outlet to escape from the pain and to especially show the world that organ donation and transplantation works.
Michigan and Transplant Games of America, here I come!!
Keep smilin' until we meet again,