Heart recipient wins bronze at transplant games

Posted: Thursday, July 13, 2000

Less than seven months after having a heart transplant Juneau's Chrysantha Bradley returned from the 2000 U.S. Transplant Games in Orlando, Fla., wearing a bronze medal from the volleyball competition.

Bradley, 15, played for Team Oregon and Washington's coed volleyball team at the National Kidney Foundation-sponsored event held June 21-24 at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex.

For Bradley, who had her heart transplant on Dec. 2, it was her first competitive volleyball in more than two years. Bradley, who will be a sophomore at Juneau-Douglas High School this fall, played setter for the Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School team before she was weakened by cardiomyopathy.

``I was having fun,'' Bradley said. ``I was very excited I was actually back on a volleyball court. This was my first competition in over two years. The competition was pretty well set. Everybody was pretty equal.''

Bradley played setter for Team Oregon and Washington, which was one of 24 teams in the volleyball tournament. The players on the team ranged in age from 15 to 58 years old, with three members being heart recipients, five being kidney recipients (one of those also received pancreas) and one member being a double-lung recipient.

Team Oregon and Washington won its first match, over Team Nebraska, by forfeit. Then the squad beat both Team Virginia and Team Florida to reach the semifinals, where Team Oregon and Washington lost to Team Indiana. Team Philadelphia beat Team Indiana for the gold medal, with Team Oregon and Washington and Team Ohio sharing the bronze medals.

Bradley said the trip, which also included a stop in Seattle for a doctor's check-up of her transplant, left her filled with pleasant memories. She said she was introduced during the opening ceremonies as the most recent transplant recipient competing at the U.S. Transplant Games, and the crowd gave her a standing ovation.

``I plan on giving my bronze medal to my donor family, if I ever meet them,'' Bradley said. ``I don't need the medal for my memories, and I think this will help give my donor family some new memories.''

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