ARCHBOLD — Late on a Tuesday morning in May 2004, Tonya Gomez, 43, Archbold, was preparing breakfast for her son when she got the call.
“They said, ‘We have lungs for you, do you want them?’” Gomez said.
That same evening, Gomez, who was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF) at nine months old, would become a transplant recipient.
During her recovery, she spotted a flier for the 2004 Transplant Games of America — a multi-sport, Olympic-style athletic event for those who have undergone life-saving transplant procedures. Gomez, who was still weak from surgery, doesn’t remember it herself, but her husband, Mario, does.
“He said I looked at the flier, and told him I wanted to do it,” Gomez said.
And next week in Cleveland, she will — for the sixth time.
“I registered for the 2006 Games, and I was really, really nervous,” she said. “But the Games are so exciting, and I had the best experience. I’ve been hooked ever since.”
Gomez said her mother struggled at first to find an explanation for her daughter’s persistent health problems.
“Back then, CF was around, but they didn’t necessarily know what it was,” she said. “I got sick all of the time — they diagnosed me with lung infections and bronchitis.” Continue reading
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