MOUNT VERNON — A golf tournament and “Luau for Life” on June 24 will raise money to support Team Ohio at the Transplant Games of America, July 28-31, at Grand Rapids, Mich. The proceeds will assist organ transplant recipients with travel, housing and registration costs associated with competing in the games.
Event Organizer Rich Hardwick said the Transplant Games of America are held every two years and include a wide range of competition, including golf, swimming, running, three-on-three basketball and many other events. Hardwick said he participated in golf and table tennis at the 2006 games.
“A lot goes on, almost like the Olympic games,” he said. “You walk in as a team. It’s a breathtaking event.”
He said it was difficult to get there, “but I wanted to go one time.”
He has one regret from his trip: “I walked right past Larry Hagman and never stopped to ask him for an autograph. I even had an event calendar and a pen in my pocket.”
Hardwick, who received a kidney transplant 36 years ago, said he went to the 2006 games at Louisville, Ky., and “It’s pretty expensive” when you figure travel costs, lodging and food. Events like this will help make the games affordable for more people, he said.