by Louise R. SHAW
LAYTON—For Brayden Seymour, the best part of participating in the Transplant Games of America isn’t just that he won some medals, it’s that he’s alive.
Seymour wasn’t even 1 year old when he qualified to receive a liver transplant.
That was 30-plus years of growing and living ago – with an LDS mission, a marriage and two children that have filled his life since.
“Having a second chance at life means a lot to me,” said Seymour. “It means a lot that someone, in the midst of heartache, was willing to look beyond their grief and help a stranger who needed that transplant.”
Seymour first participated in the transplant games when they were in Salt Lake City in 1996. Again this year he took part, competing in a 5K, a variety of swimming events, volleyball, basketball and Pickleball.
His co-ed basketball team earned a gold medal in basketball; other medals were in volleyball and swimming events.
“It’s wonderful and inspiring to watch the teams from all over the country playing, each one of them the recipients of transplants,” said Shannon Seymour, his mother. “All have had life-saving organ donations.”
While Brayden doesn’t remember much about the transplant, his mother does.
She remembers that if he had been born just a couple years earlier, transplants wouldn’t have been available for his condition.
She remembers that there weren’t any hospitals in Utah doing that transplant at the time, so they had to have a fundraiser to get on the waiting list and have the transplant performed at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
“We are so grateful for the people of Utah who contributed so much to the transplant fundraiser,” she said.
“It’s wonderful,” she said of the medical advancements that made the transplant possible. “We never thought that he would make it this far.”
While people of all ages took part in the games, Shannon thinks Brayden and a friend of his who had a similar transplant also as a baby, may be some of the competitors with the longest post-transplant history.
The transplant games concluded last Tuesday. They are held around the country every two years with the mission, according to transplantgamesofamerica.org, to “highlight the critical importance of organ, eye, a tissue donation, while celebrating the lives of organ donors and recipients.”