The biennial event will feature about 20 events in downtown venues and area universities and is expected to bring 9,000 visitors and $5 to $10 million to Cleveland

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CLEVELAND -- The Greater Cleveland Sports Commission has announced the 2016 Donate Life Transplant Games will be held here in July 22-26 2016.

The biennial event will feature about 20 events in downtown venues and area universities and is expected to bring 9,000 visitors and $5 to $10 million to Cleveland that summer.

The sporting event is for organ recipients and living donors. The games include competitions like a 5K run, basketball, bowling, cycling, tennis, swimming and more.

The Sports Commission will manage the event with extensive support from local partners Lifebanc, Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals. The biannual Transplant Games aim to raise awareness for the life-altering benefits brought through the transplantation of organs, tissue and corneas. Organ transplants save thousands of lives each year and the Transplant Games celebrate the gift of life and honor donors and their families.

The event also provides a platform for education on organ donation. 120,000 people in the United States are currently awaiting a lifesaving organ transplant and donor registry lists in every state need continued growth.

"Our community's proven ability to host major events, outstanding healthcare industry and status as a traveler destination make Cleveland an outstanding site for the 2016 Transplant Games," said David Gilbert, President and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission. "The event will infuse $5 million into our local economy, provide an opportunity for 9,000 visitors to experience Cleveland and raise awareness for a cause that saves or improves tens of thousands of lives each and every year. The partnership between the Sports Commission, Lifebanc, Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals will allow Cleveland to hold an event that will simply wow its participants and supporters. Hosting the Transplant Games in 2016 is another huge win for our city."

Cleveland was selected to host the event due to its potential venues, lodging options, public transportation, flight pricing and schedules, and driving distance from other markets. 12 other cities submitted official bids to host the event and Cleveland was one of three finalists. Cleveland also benefited from having world-class transplant centers at both Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals.

"Cleveland won out over a number of exceptional communities for a variety of reasons. The Cleveland bid clearly demonstrated an overwhelming commitment to the rich history of the Transplant Games and the cause of donation and transplantation," said Bill Ryan, President and CEO of the Transplant Games of America.

"Lifebanc is excited that the City of Cleveland will host the 2016 Transplant Games of America," said Gordon Bowen, CEO of Lifebanc. "This extraordinary event highlights the athletic abilities of transplant recipients and living donors. The games present the opportunity to increase the Ohio donor registry while raising awareness about the critical need for more registered organ, eye and tissue donors. The true legacy of donation and transplantation is revealed in the lives of the participants involved in the games. These individuals are our family, our neighbors, our friends, they are our community."

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