What does swimming and organ donation have in common? For swimmer, James Jonsson, they are both things he is passionate about.
James is a marathon swimmer who is currently training to break the world record for a lengthwise swim across Lake Tahoe. He is doing this swim to bring attention to the need for others to register as organ, eye and tissue donors. His challenge to everyone – “If I can break the world record, will you commit to being an organ donor?”
James first recognized the importance of organ donation in the early ’80s when his father, who was also a competitive open water swimmer, went into kidney failure. A transplant in 1986 gave his father back his quality of life and he was able to continue competitive swimming.
In 2003, James became acquainted with donation from both sides when his son tragically passed away. He was an organ donor and that decision has impacted several lives. James has exchanged letters with some of the recipients and is grateful that organ donation allowed something positive to come from his son’s death.
The Daily News of Open Water Swimming recently published an article about his upcoming swim. James plans on making this 22 mile swim on August 4. To take James’ challenge and register your wishes to be an organ, eye and tissue donor, log on to www.yesutah.org.