We’ve all arrived safely in Pittsburgh — Joe, my terrific parents Len and Gary, and me, and let me tell you: The nation’s organ transplant community has descended on this town! I started to feel the celebratory and reverent vibe that pervades these games before I even left Minneapolis, as I stood near my gate in at the airport and watched people in identical T-shirts identify each other, hug or shake hands, and start sharing stories. over huge smiles and enthusiastic nods. I sat near two couples who were parents of deceased teenage children that had become donors, and listened as they shared their stories about their children and what happened, then about their grief and their healing. It’s a wonderful feeling here, and I can’t wait to dive in. There are green rubber bracelets, green ribbons, regional team pins, colorful bead strands, and the words “donate life” everywhere you look.
And what a beautiful city — I underestimated Pittsburgh. Joe and I barely checked into the hotel before we had to leave for a Pirates/Cardinals game at PNC Park down the road. We walked past the gorgeuos riverfront skyline and snapped this shot of Joe and the ball park.
Registered participants of the games join a regional team — and in honor of Joe (since he’s the athelete here), I joined Team Northwest instead of my local Minnesota team. I was happy (but not the least bit surprised) to see Roche’s logo on the team’s shirt. They (in the form of one local rep named Jeff from New Jersey, anyway), have been very supportive and encouraging me as I launched the foundation.
Tomorrow is a big day — Joe has to practice up on ping pong and basketball with his teammates, and there’s an exposition of vendors and nonprofits that my folks and I will explore. And then? Opening ceremonies, baby!