'Every day that I am vertical I say ‘thank you'': Solon native preparing for Transplant Games

Posted at 10:08 AM, Jul 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-22 10:08:42-04

For most people, golf provides leisure and luxury, but for Solon native Randy Oyaski golf allows him to fully enjoy and appreciate a life that has been graciously extended.

“Every day that I am vertical I say ‘thank you,” Oyaski said.

Six years ago Oyaski received a double lung transplant after being diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, which is a scarring of the lungs. But since the transplant Oyaski has been able to continue to participate in activities he loves, such as golf.

In 2016 he became a three-time medalist in the Transplant Games, which were held in Cleveland that year. The Transplant Games is an event featuring many sports for people who have undergone life-saving transplant surgeries. The Games are eligible to people who are living donors, organ transplant recipients, and bone marrow, corneal and tissue transplant recipients. Oyaski is preparing to once again compete in both golf and Texas Hold ‘Em at this year's Games, which will be held in Salt Lake City in August.

Oyaski said he can feel his late donor's presence when he competes.

“You get that little notion, that feeling, that they are behind you no matter what’s going on,” he said. “If I am coming up on a tough shot I will say, ‘Help me out.’ Maybe I hit it right or maybe I got an angel on my shoulder.”

The Games also provide Oyaski an opportunity to meet other people whose lives have been saved by an organ transplant. According to Oyaski, it’s the relationships as opposed to the medals that make the games a success.

“We compare scars. It’s one big fraternity,” he said.

While the people who participate in the Games encourage each other, they also hope to inspire others to donate their organs.

“We always say, ‘You can’t take it with you.’ If you have the opportunity to help someone else after you pass, please do it,” Oyaski said.

And while Oyaski is enjoying the life he’s been so generously given, he will one day try and give that gift to someone else.

He said, “I care about me, but I care about saving other because someone had the opportunity to save me."