“My liver died suddenly for reasons that I still do not know. In January 1998, I was healthy and active; in February I realized that I was sick and on March 6th I flew to Stanford University in California. On March 9th I was in a coma and placed on the transplant list. My family gathered but could only wait and pray. On March 12, 1998, I woke with a new liver and a new life.” – Tracy Copeland
Tracy, her husband Glen, and their daughter Erica, have since met her donor’s family. John, Kathy and Lynn have now blended in to the Copeland family, united by one extraordinary young man, Terry Snow.
Before her transplant, Tracy was a weekend athlete. In 2001 her donor family told her about the US Transplant Games, an Olympics style event that gives transplant recipients a chance to showcase life after a transplant. since 2002, she has competed in cycling, swimming and track. She has represented Team USA at the World Transplant Games in Bangkok, Thailand and the Gold Coast of Australia. In 2006, with her donor’s parent’s by her side, Tracy received the Jerry Cound Outstanding Female Athlete Award at the US Transplant Games.
“It was being a transplant recipient that made me take the leap to being a triathlete,” Tracy says. She competes in a Donate Life jersey that Glen designed for her.
Tracy cycles, runs and swims for Terry Snow, the 19 years old man who lost his life in a tragic motorcycle accident. Terry’s parents, John and Kathy, in the midst of imaginable grief, made the decision to donate their son’s organs. He saved Tracy’s life. He also saved the lives of four other people.