Transplant Games 2008 Highlights

The games haven’t even started yet; today was just the first half-day of registration and setting up our Mayo Clinic booth.

I heard some great stories, both from organ recipients and from donor families (as well as some from families in which one member had donated to another) and we uploaded them to the Mayo Clinic YouTube channel.

Here’s one that was especially touching for me, because it involved a Dad (about my age, or maybe a bit younger) with five kids (I have six), none of whom had been born when he received his donated kidney.


Here’s a photo taken on the medal stand in the Mayo Clinic booth, of Katie Schnell and her father, who was her kidney donor.

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You also can listen to Kati tell her story on YouTube.

There were lots of other moving and inspirational stories, and you can see them by clicking here (more will be uploaded soon) or by searching for transplantgames08 on YouTube. More videos will be shot and uploaded tomorrow, and I hope others who are staying for the entire games will shoot videos, and upload photos, and write blog posts giving them the transplantgames08 tag, so we can see and hear more about the difference transplant can make.

Transplant Games: Meet Mayo Clinic Transplant Center Staff

Kay Kosberg and Kristin Eggebraaten are two representatives from the Mayo Clinic Transplant Center who are staffing the Mayo Clinic booth this weekend at the U.S. Transplant Games in Pittsburgh.

Here’s a bit from Kay telling why she’s excited about the Transplant Games:


And here’s a brief interview I did with Kristin:


Here’s a photo of the Pittsburgh skyline they took yesterday when they arrived, and we uploaded it to the Mayo Clinic Flickr account.

Update: Here’s a photo of the three of us staffing the booth, taken just before I left last night (they’re on the  medal stand, and I’m on the floor). Kay and Kristin are taking care of the booth today. I’m sorry I won’t get to see the opening ceremonies.

Seven Steps to Promoting Transplant through Social Media

I’m in Pittsburgh for the 2008 Transplant Games, an event sponsored by the National Kidney Foundation “to demonstrate the success of transplantation, honor those who have given the gift of life, and call attention to the need for more organ donors.”

I am accompanying a couple of staff members from the Mayo Clinic Transplant Center in our Mayo Clinic booth. They’re the experts in transplant and medicine, and I’m helping them work with the transplant recipients, living donors and their family members who are here to promote organ and tissue donation through social media.  Here’s a description of what we’ll be doing.

More than any type of patient I know, transplant recipients seem to be especially grateful for the opportunity at a new life they have been given through transplant. Whereas some patients may want to keep the fact of their medical conditions private (which is absolutely their right), my experience with transplant patients is that they have an evangelical zeal to let people know how important organ and tissue donation is.

It seems to me that social media, whether it be networking sites like Facebook and MySpace, or through sharing videos on YouTube or photos on Flickr or via a blog, present unique opportunities for transplant advocates to spread the word. Here’s why:

Continue reading “Seven Steps to Promoting Transplant through Social Media”

SMUG Extension Class for LifeSource

Today I had the opportunity to do a presentation on social media for LifeSource, the non-profit organization that manages organ and tissue donation in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and parts of western Wisconsin.

I had been asked to do this because of a presentation I had done for the Minnesota Health Strategy and Communications Network. I told the LifeSource group I would provide a link here to my presentation; since it was substantially the same as the one I did in February, I’m just linking to that post.

I will be interested to see what LifeSource does in social media; for an organization that is so volunteer-intensive and deeply affects so many people in a positive way, these tools are a natural way to give a voice and a platform to people who are passionate about this life-saving work. Here’s the Facebook group, Donate Life Minnesota, they have formed. I suggested they should talk with Scott Meis from the Donate Life Illinois campaign, where they’ve had a lot of success using social media.

I’m also looking forward to connecting with LifeSource at the Transplant Games in Pittsburgh in July, where Mayo Clinic will have a booth as one of the sponsors. We will be having opportunities for participants in these Olympic-style events to share their stories via a Facebook group and in other ways.