Note from Denise

Isa – you said 2008 in Pittsburgh… what about the Bangkok World Games in 2007? Sounds much nicer… It is a fantastic place and I would love to meet you all there! xoxo Denise, from Riga

Note from Denise

Stacey, This picture sums it up for me! Oh, we love you so much. And we were so happy to be there with you to see you shine! Now Sophie wants to write to you: Hi Stacey. 🙂 I want to see you soon. I will send you a picture. I like these litte faces, they are funny. Mia is silly. She pulled my hair bad today and she got in trouble. We love you. I love you. SOPHIA 😉 I like the winking eye. :p Aunt Stacey I like the face with the tongue out! LOVE YOU! P.S. It is midnight, yes… Sophie has jet lag….., – Denise, from Riga

Note from Isa Stenzel Byrnes

Thank you Stacey and Laura for so eloquently describing the incredibly life-affirming week we spent at the US Transplant games in Louisville. Laura, you so perfectly describe the love and gratitude of EVERY mother of a transplant recipient who has the honor to watch their child overcome tragic illness and come to the brink of death, only to be resurrected by the kindness and miracle of someone else’s gift. Stacey deserves more than any other to thrive at the games, and the gold medal around her neck was just the icing on the cake as a reward for how far she has come. It was a dream for me, as well as Stacey, to attend the Games together, also with my sister Ana, to all be strong and healthy in 2006. I am in awe of the energy, the love, the support and the joy of this indescribeable event we all witnessed. Stacey and I just went on a walk together today with my dog Rupie. We talked all about the games; like in one week, the energy and joie de vivre continues to inspire us. Our doctors have congratulated us and we acknowledge we couldn’t have done it without them. They are the true heroes here as well as, needless to say, our own donors whose memories and lives live on. Thank you all for listening and supporting Stacey in her quest for life and quest for the gold. Onward, we aim, for Pittsburg 2008!!! May God help us all get there! -Isa Stenzel Byrnes

Note from Michelle Cline

Hi Stacey, I just got an email from your sister and she told me about what has been going on with you. I am so glad to hear that you are doing better. She said it has been a long road for you. Sounds like it from your website. Wow a lot can happen in 7 years. I can’t believe it has been 7 years since Denise and Jerry got married and we saw you all last. Well, things with me and Tim are going well. The little boy that I was pregnant with is now 6 turning 7 in October his name is TJ and my oldest daughter is Kyla she is going to be a teenager in Sept. and my other daughter will be 12 in Sept. Time is just flying by. I just wanted to drop you a note to let you know we are thinking of you and glad to hear you are doing better. Keep in touch. Talk to you soon. -Michelle Cline

Note from Laura Jeanchild

A little heart sticker Denise wore on her t-shirt over her own heart symbolizes the sentiment of the Transplant Games for me. When I came home from Kentucky, I printed organ donor registration forms and cards from the state organ donation website. It is easy. One donor may directly help as many as 60 people plus bring years of joy to all their families and friends. I encourage everyone reading this to look at the web page for your own state, print and pass on the information. “My heart (as well as liver, lungs, kidneys, corneas, spleen, etc.) goes out to you.” takes on a profound literal as well as spiritual meaning. Michelle, Stacey’s old school chum, joined our family at the campsite with her two adorable daughters. Michelle’s sister, Colleen, was an organ donor. Thank you so much Michelle for being with our family at these games. Stacey with her double lung transplant won the gold medal. For those of you who do not know, it is far more difficult to play aerobic sports with a lung transplant than with any other. Stacey was the only lungs recipient in these final matches. Stacey has always been an athlete, and our family photos are a life long documentation of her throwing balls, kicking balls, hitting balls, climbing rocks and trees and running with the the enthusiasm of a puppy. Every mother I spoke with who attended the games has highlights of the experience etched on her heart which are as unique as her own precious child. When Denise placed the gold medal around Stacey’s neck, everyone went wild, crying and clapping for this long deserved tribute to Stacey, a woman who has always whole heartedly loved athletics, and in all ways embodies the merits of good sportsmanship, adores everything that athletics has to offer, challenges her own limits and continually strives heroically for her own personal best while coaching others to do the same. On or off the field, win, place or just show up, the athletes of these games all exemplify what it means to have the Heart of a Champion. So thanks Denise for wearing that little sticker of a heart over your own and demonstrating that while this disease has broken our hearts, love heals. And thanks profoundly Michelle for so tenderly bringing us the message from your family that your sister’s heart is still beating. Everyone can participate in these games by signing and circulating donor cards. Stacey has a bumper sticker that says”Recycle Yourself”. -Laura Jeanchild

Note from Stacey

On Monday, June 19th, the entourage left the campground at 6:30 a.m., and I was the first one to check in at the badminton tournament. The family set up the banner in the stands, and cheered throughout the day as I earned the gold medal in four swift matches among an enthusiastic, yet inexperienced field of women in my age group, 30-39. It was a great honor to receive the gold medal from my sister Denise(pictured here with her daughter Mia.) I’ve played sports all my life, and I’ve never won a contest or a gold medal. But more meaningful than the medal is what the quest for the prize did for us: it motivated me to join a team and practice two hours per day, getting healthier and stronger throughout the year; the journey brought together my family from around the world for a great re-union; and it showed the world the success of organ donation and the difference one individual made by becoming an organ donor. It was a team effort to get this far, and I am grateful to my mom and Dave, who were my caregivers after the transplant, to all my friends who visited me in the hospital, raised funds for my medical bills, and traveled from all over the world to support me. I also want to honor my own donor, the woman whose lungs saved my life. It as a special event and a great joy to be at the Games., – Stacey, from Belmont

Note from Stacey

Transplant Games, Part 2 (cont’d.) The next day, we arose a 6 a.m., eager to participate in the 5K Race for Organ Donation and Awareness. Despite our high hopes, our large group arrived so late that we missed the start of the race…and wandered through the streets of Louisville, banner and all, looking for a crowd of participants going in one direction. We began to see thin, athletic, sweaty characters run by us in the opposite direction. Gradually, the crowd got thicker as the pace slowed down…we were among the walkers then. So we hopped into the crowd, turned around, and proudly marched (well, Mia rolled in the stroller, since she is only 1 and 1/2) the last mile of the race! Later that day, half of us attended the opening ceremonies. I marched in with my team, and the family sat in the audience of thousands. There were beautiful speeches, songs, and tributes to living donors and donor families. I began to feel the true meaning of what the Games is about…community, promoting organ donation, and honoring the donor families, in addition to the sports. The next day we left the campground early to watch and support my friends Ana, Paul and Isa (pictured)as they competed in the swimming events. Ana, Isa, Tracy and earned the gold medal in the 4X50 medley, Isa won a silver in the breast stroke, and Ana won a gold in the individual medly. But at the Transplant Games, it is even more intriguing to watch the losers, the athletes struggling to do their best, courageously and slowly working their way across the pool. One blind woman got huge cheers of applause as she finished way behind the pack., – Stacey, from Belmont

Note from Stacey

Cherie, Felix and Michelle, thanks for your good wishes and congratulations! The Transplant Games…so many wonderful memories in one week…it hard to convey the spirit of the Games in words, but I will do my best. As the Games approached, I was in the best physical condition in years. At my check-up, I scored 66% of normal lung capacity, and had recently completed a personal best of 100 pull-ups in sets of five. I had just completed a season of badminton with the Skyline college team. Not knowing what to expect, I hoped for the best in the singles badminton competition. I arrived in Louisville and found my mother Laura annd cousin Andy holding up a sign that said, “Nor-Cal/Nev,” my team name, complete with balloons. It was made out of a teal rain poncho, and I was very touched by the gesture! We drove to the campground and were warmly welcomed by the entourage: My sister Denise, her husband Jerry, their kids, Sophia (pictured)and Mia; my relatives and friends–John, Rosie, Jackie, Katie, Sherry, Bonnieli, Jinnifer, Marion, Dan, Elita, and later Michelle, Colleen and Brittany. We were there for the U.S. Transplant Games and making a family vacation out of it. Every day and night was a flurry of activity that started a 6 a.m., people were floating among the different cabins and campsites, children were playing and laughing, and the adults were catching up on family matters. Sophia, with her absolutely adorable, loving and intelligent four-year-old charm was like a brightly shining star glowing on everyone., – Stacey, from Belmont

Note from Michelle

Hello Stacey! It was great seeing you and your wonderful family at the transplant games in Louisville. Even though you cleaned house winning the gold in the women’s badminton division, the non-transplant games that occured after when you swept the gold from your Co-ed competition was just as exciting! I heard the 2008 US transplant games are in Pittsburgh! Love Michelle, Brain, Colleen and Brittany, from Milwaukee WI

Note from Felix

WOW! I just heard from Stacey. She just won the gold in badmitton at the Transplant Games. Now she is even thinking of going to the World Championships next year. Great going Stacey! We are all very proud of you! -Felix, from scorching Stockton