Team Maryland is a group of transplant recipients, living donors, and donor families who compete in the Transplant Games of America – a multi-sport festival competition held every two years. More than an athletic event, the Transplant Games highlight the critical importance of organ, eye, and tissue donation, while celebrating the lives of organ donors and recipients. This is the first interview in our new “Meet Team Maryland” series where you can learn more about the athletes that make up the best team (Team Maryland!) at the Transplant Games.
Meet Mike Butler. The man whose warm energy greets you before he does. In 1995, Butler received a kidney and pancreas transplant from a deceased donor, Kelly . Since then, he is inspired to use his time and energy sharing his story as a Donate Life Ambassador. He also competes regularly in several Transplant Games events as a Team Maryland athlete.
Infinite Hope (IH): How has donation and/or transplantation impacted your life?
Mike Butler (MB): It’s given me a second chance at life. I’ve lived 23 years of borrowed time. I’ve been able to see things I never thought possible, go places I never thought I’d go, and meet wonderful people and share my experiences with; people I never thought I’d meet. Because of the transplant, I’m able to live life to the fullest, never cheating a day!
IH: What inspired you to be a part of Team Maryland?
MB: Because of my transplant, I was able to go back to work and get my full retirement. After retiring, I heard about the Transplant Games. I got a hold of our team representative, Latrice Price, and joined the team.
IH: How has your experience been so far?
MB: It has been a blessing! We have so much fun, fundraising and getting together as we do at the Games. The friendships I’ve forged are priceless. We ALL have a story, family, friends, and donors who have been impacted by transplantation.
IH: How many transplant games have you attended?
MB: 2018 will be my 7th time going to the Transplant Games. I’ve also been to 5 World Games as a part of Team USA. The friendships made, the competition, and the overall experience is priceless. Every Games, you meet new people, make new friendships, reconnect with old friends, and shed a tear for those who have passed and create memories.
IH: What sports do you compete in?
MB: I participate in cycling, track and field, 3 on 3 basketball, volleyball, bowling, and pickle ball. I’ll be doing Texas Hold’em this year, too.
IH: How do you train for the transplant games?
MB: Ever since my transplant, I try to eat healthy and make exercise a part of my daily routine. I go to the gym three days a week for a 90-minute workout. I do cardio, weight training, circuit training, as well as develop my core to prevent injuries.
IH: What song gets you pumped up and motivated for the games?
MB: “Final Countdown” by Europe, “Living On A Prayer” by Bon Jovi, and “We Are The Champions” by Queen.
IH: How has Team Maryland supported you?
MB: They have given me the opportunity to compete nationally and internationally. The friendships and memories of the team makes the past, present, and future invaluable.
Interested in joining or supporting Team Maryland? Learn more about them at www.thellf.org/teammaryland.