MISSION AND HISTORY
Second Chance at Life Louisville, KY Inc. is a non-profit organization whose members are organ transplant recipients, their family members, living donors, donor family members, potential recipients an interested. Our mission is to promote organ donation awareness
We are volunteers that work at health fairs to inform the public about the importance of being and organ, tissue, and cornea donor. You are welcome to attend our monthly meetings on the second Sunday of each month @ 2:00pm
Second Chance @ Life, Team Kentucky strives to raise awareness about issues surrounding organ donation and transplantation. We participate in numerous health fairs, work with other concerned groups like Kentucky Organ Donor Affiliates (KODA), Trust for Life, Lyons Eye Bank, Circuit Court Clerks of Kentucky and others to spread the word that organ donation saves lives.
As part of this effort, and aside from our regular monthly meetings, we have two major projects we take part in regularly, (1.) we decorate a float and march in the annual Pegasus Parade during Kentucky Derby week every year, and (2.) participate in the Transplant Games, an every-other-year Olympic style athletic competition sponsored by the Transplant Games of America (TGA). Both of these events receive major media coverage and allow us to bring our message to a large audience.
Pegasus Parade: Second Chance @ Life has participated in the parade for the last 21 years. Each year we decorate a float and march down Louisville's Broadway in the annual Kentucky Derby Festival Pegasus Parade. The parade theme changes every year, and so does decoration of our float, but our float committee chair, Kyleen Kelly, always seems to find a way to tie organ donation into our design. Some of our members ride on the float, while others walk and carry signs. Its a wonderful, fun, festive atmosphere and we reach tens of thousands of people who watch the parade in person. But the real benefit is the 350,000 people who will watch the broadcast on TV. There are few events where we can reach so many people and raise awareness about the importance of organ donation.
The parade theme for 2019 was 'Heroes.' While many of the floats featured superheroes, our float featured organ donors with the motto 'Organ Donors are Real Life Heroes.' The float had cloud-like fabric and a carousel with pegasus horses and the participants wore angel wings. Our float won the People's Choice Award in a landslide. We also won the overall second place in the official judging.
The 2020 and 2021 Pegasus Parades were postponed due to the Coronavirus. There were smaller parade-like activities in 2021, but Second Chance at Life did not participate
The 2022 Pegasus Parade was nearly back to normal, except that the date was moved to Sunday, May first rather than the usual, Wednesday of Derby week. The theme of the parade was 'What We Love About Derby,' and out float personalized that theme to "Second Chance at Life Loves Traeger Transplant Center." The float featured the UofL Hospital/Jewish Transplant building, a replication of the eternal flame at the new KODA offices that commemorates Donor Families and a six-foot-tall red heart that rotated as we marched down broadway. It was an incredibly hot May day, but the parade went off as scheduled and many people enjoyed our float and danced along with our soundtrack. They also got our message about the importance of organ donation.
Transplant Games: Every other year on even-numbered years, Transplant Games of America holds the Transplant Games. Nearly every state and even some foreign countries send teams made up of athletic competitors who have had a solid organ transplant. It is a way to demonstrate that after transplant life can still be exciting and vital and can even include athletic competition. There are true tests of physical abilities like track and field, swimming and basketball but there are also low-impact events like darts, cornhole and hold 'em poker. There is something for everyone and while competition is good natured, people do want to win!
There are many other events but the one that is always very moving is the Donor Tribute event. Several donor family stories are highlighted and the athletes and their supporters are reminded how lucky they are to have found a life-saving organ donor. Without donor families, there would be no transplants. It is always a very sobering and emotional event and always one of the highlights of the games.
Somehow, our team manager Sallie Wilson organizes our Team Kentucky (sort of like herding cats), designs and has printed team uniforms, arranges hotel accommodations, gets us restaurant and flight info and keeps us on track with registration and event selection. We hold a lot of fund raising events over the course of two years, so we are one of the few teams who pay the participants' costs in full!
The games do two very important things. First, they connect thousands of people who have had a transplant and thousands of living donors and donor families. There is no other place where one can hear so many stories, compare histories, share information and learn about all things transplant. Second, the games get a lot of media coverage, so we can reach a larger audience to spread our message that organ donation saves lives and encourage everyone to sign up to be an organ donor.
The venue changes every time the games are held so there is always an interesting city to visit and explore. The 2018 games were held in Salt Lake City, Utah. The 2020 games were scheduled for the Meadowlands in New Jersey, just outside of New York City. Sadly, those games were postponed due to the Coronavirus and have been rescheduled for July 2021. A special version of the games was held, but not in person. Individual events were completed at home and scores and times were sent in. It was a valiant effort, but not the same as having the competition face to face.
The Transplant Games were back to in-person in 2022 and were held in the beautiful city of San Diego, CA. The team competed well in the games and brought back a slew of medals. San Diego is a beautiful and on off-hours, there was much to see and do. The most important part of the games is the people you get to meet. Everyone has a story and are eager to share. It's the only place a organ recipient or a donor family can go where everyone understands what you've been through. Everyone had a wonderful time.
OFFICERS AND COMMITTEE CHAIRS