For Shirley Kramer, The game of bocce ball is simple. The game of life, not so much.
"My heart was enlarged. It was just really not functioning too well. By the time I got the phone call I think it was functioning like 8 percent," she remembers.
That was 25 years ago. Before her heart transplant.
I don't take anything for granted. I don't take anything for granted anymore," she said.
Now everyday is a gift. That's part of the reason why she and a dozen members of team Nebraska are practicing for the Transplant Games of America.The multi-sport festival event is for individuals who have undergone life-saving transplant surgeries. Competition events are open to living donors, organ transplant recipients, bone marrow, corneal and tissue transplant recipients.
Carole Flood is one of the members of the team. She's a living donor.
"My daughter needed a kidney when she was 22, her circumstance was she was perfectly healthy, and she caught a virus, a cold," Flood said.
More than an athletic event, the Donate Life Transplant Games highlight the critical importance of organ, eye, and tissue donation, while celebrating the lives of organ donors and recipients. This team says it's about celebrating their team and the teams of doctors, nurses, and especially the donors, without whom any of this would be possible.
"The gift that was given to me, I am in someways, able to give back." Kramer said.