Let the Games Begin: Purpose in Pittsburgh

By: Wills Porter

Welcome to the Games

“Welcome to the 2008 Transplant Games!” As these words echoed over the crowd, the room erupted in applause and cheers. Standing with my teammates, I looked around the auditorium and noticed the venue was completely full. It was in that moment that I realized the magnitude of the Transplant Games. When we all took our seats for the opening ceremonies, I was overcome with a sense of pride and gratitude. I couldn’t help but think about the training and dedication I had put forth to prepare for the Games. I knew the time would soon come to put my training to the test. I knew I was ready to go. However, no amount of training could have prepared me for the life-changing week I was about to have.

Fresh Perspectives

After opening ceremonies concluded, I spent time meeting with other transplant recipients and donor families from across the country. In these interactions, I came to see that I was not alone in my transplant journey. Most importantly meeting other recipients and donor families helped me gain a fresh perspective of my own transplant experience. Before the games, I felt alone in my transplant experience. Before the games, I allowed others to speak negativity into my life and predetermine my future potential. At the Games, I came to see that my transplant story was something to be proud of. I also came to understand that while I had a complex medical past, I had a choice to either be a victim or a victor. On the day of my track events, I stepped foot onto the track forever changed. When I finished my first running event, I knew I had found my purpose in Pittsburgh. My purpose was to honor my donor and use my transplant story to inspire others. I would achieve this purpose so long as I dared to be different, and different is what Intended to be.


Published by Wills Porter

Having been a transplant recipient of over 20 years, Wills is a living example of the life-transforming power of organ donation and transplant. While life after transplant has not always been easy, Wills believes that the challenges he has faced since his transplant have made him stronger and helped him take joy in his own transplant journey. As a KT author, podcast host and the director of research and development for Kidney Trails, Wills is focused on advancing the conversation around organ donation through innovative and extra organary ways.

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