Heart transplant recipient competes in Transplant Games of America, encourages others to join him

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) – As the world watches the Olympics, a heart transplant recipient from Jackson prepares for his own athletic competition.

He puts his body to the test after his life-changing surgery in 2014 and recruits other transplant recipients to join him in the Transplant Games of America.

Timothy Lewis will compete in 21 events at this year’s Transplant Games of America. “This will be my fourth competition,” Lewis said.

The 57-year-old celebrates eight years of successful heart transplant surgery. Since 2016, he has competed with Team Mississippi in Olympic-style events.

“I received life and I participate in these games to restore enthusiasm and motivation to people who have suffered from this disease, and now they don’t have to.”

Lewis persuaded John Wilkerson to join the team. The 59-year-old underwent a kidney transplant in 2019.

“The transplant is a good thing,” Wilkerson said. “It prolongs life, I don’t know how long it will prolong it. But if you do what the doctor says, take care of yourself, don’t go back to doing what you were doing before, and you should have a long, beautiful life.

Angel Meeks received a heart transplant in January 2020. The 42-year-old will also be competing for the first time.

“Timothy invited me over and he’s a transplant survivor,” Meeks said. “I think it will be fun for me to go have fun and participate in sporting events that I’ve never done before, but I think it will be fun.”

The Mississippi team will compete in the Transplant Games of America July 29-August 3 in San Diego. More than 13,000 transplant recipients from across the country are expected to participate in the games.

Lewis is reaching out to other organ transplant recipients in the state to sign up for the games. He hopes sponsors will step in to help with this year’s competition.

To learn more, visit www.teammstransplant.org.

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