Utahn who received kidney says Transplant Games a way to honor, connect with donor families

SALT LAKE CITY -- Tiffany Gordon was diagnosed with diabetes as a child, but it took years of struggling with countless health problems until organ donation saved her life.

Tiffany is in great shape these days and has been happily married to her husband, Jason, for seven years.

She says her journey to good health hasn’t been easy, starting at 11 years old when she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

“I was in my late teens and I got an insulin pump, and that made things better, but it still wasn’t perfect, so after countless hospitalizations... it just kind of took its toll and I think the damage was done," she said.

Five years ago Tiffany needed a kidney transplant. That surgery has improved Tiffany's life tenfold. She no longer needs an insulin pump and she now has an extended family.

“I’m kind of like their surrogate daughter,” she said of her donor's family. “They refer to me as their daughter now."

Tiffany honors her donor every day and is looking forward to seeing her donor's family at the Transplant Games this summer in Salt Lake City.

“I’m very excited for the Transplant Games here in Salt Lake, I’ve been training for some new events,” she said. “We bought a ping-pong table: I'm hoping to be able to medal for that."

This year the Transplant Games will open in Salt Lake City on August 2 at Smith's Ballpark. You can learn more about the event here.

To become an organ donor in Utah, you just need to say “yes” on your driver’s license or state ID card. You can also learn more or sign up by clicking here.

It’s also a good idea to let your family know of your decision so your wishes can be carried out.