Buckeye Games draw competition

GAMBIER — Jonathan Cope is 46 going on 13; 58-year-old Nick Carson celebrated his sixth birthday on May 1. Nancy Hrivnak, a 54-year-old newspaper editor, will soon celebrate her 16th birthday. The three were among more than 100 transplant recipients and family members who gathered this weekend for the 2009 Buckeye Transplant Games held in Knox County. They’re celebrating life — and their second chance at it. Cope, of Jacksonville Beach, Fla., received a double-lung transplant Oct. 31, 1996, following a diagnosis of pulmonary fibrosis. “I got my lungs from a 12-year-old boy,” he said.” I never heard the story of what happened to the boy.” Several years later, however, his job took him back to the Birmingham hospital where he had his transplant surgery, and he met the man who received the heart of the 12-year-old boy. Cope, who competed in tennis and swimming events, said life expectancy after a double-lung transplant is five years; thus far, he’s beaten the odds. He has had a few setbacks since his transplant, but no major complications. Active all of his life, Cope said the transplant gave him new life.

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