Meet the PKD Athletes & SupportersTransplant Games of America

Meet PKD patients and their family and friends that will be attending the 2014 Transplant Games of America in Houston, TX!  If you are planning to attend, share your journey with us.  We are looking forward to seeing you this year in Houston!


2014 Transplant Games of America

TGABetsy Cook
Team Texas Warriors

5K and Golf (singles and 2 person team)


I've never participated in the Transplant Games before. I received a kidney transplant from a friend 3 years ago and am so thankful for my friend, his kidney and the Gift of Life. I love to play golf and plan to participate in the singles golf and two person team golf. My husband, Chris, and I will walk the 5K Walk/Run. I'm looking forward to seeing some PKD friends at the Transplant Games, some of our dedicated PKD Foundation staff and meet some amazing people whose lives have been touched by the miracle of transplantation. As the Houston Chapter Coordinator, I'd like to raise awareness of PKD at the Transplant Games and "advertise" the Houston Chapter. I hope to meet someone new that has PKD and doesn't know what a great opportunity they are missing out on by not being involved in the PKD Foundation and the Houston Chapter.





Josephine DaCosta
Team Liberty



"....My husband had been bugging me for months to go for a physical, since I had not gotten one in a few years.  I was a healthy eater, exercised, felt pretty good, and had not been sick other than an occasional cold.  I figured why not, it wouldn’t hurt. I did the works and waited for the blood results to come back and say I was fit as fiddle, but that was not the case.....On October 16, 2008,  I was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD). My kidney function was between  30-40%. I had cysts growing all over my kidneys that were decreasing its function.  I supposedly had this kidney disease all my life and did not know it; really! (it’s genetic).  How did I get it?.....


The road from that dreadful day in 2008 to now has changed how I view things in my life. It makes me grateful for what I have and for the people in my life, who have supported me and given me encouragement and strength when I needed it the most. I want to inspire others, make my life mean something, and leave an imprint on this world.  I want to be able to say that in my lifetime, I had a part in finding a cure for PKD.


I hope this helps you understand why I am running the 5K in the Transplant Games of America in Houston. It is the next challenge to overcome. It is a personal goal and something I need to accomplish."  Read more of Josephine's story and follow her all the way to the Transplant Games on her blog!


David Ackerman
Team Southern California

Swimming and Golf


"I inherited PKD from my father, who died at the age of 70 from complications of being on dialysis for 13 years.  I feared the treatment more than the disease.  I had been very active in sports and fitness up until anemia took control about 9 months before I had to go on dialysis.  Then after a little over one year on dialysis, a friend I had known since high school volunteered to donate one of his kidneys to me.  Since my transplant in 2007, I have a new life.  Some things from age have taken over, but I have wanted to try the transplant games since then,  This will be my first.  My training for the swimming events will have me in the pool 3 or more days a week.  I also play golf 2-3 days a week, so I hope to be prepared for the events, and look forward to meeting others and hearing their stories."


Mark Kaufman
Team Liberty

5K, Cycling and Bowling


"Since my transplant in Sept. 2008 I have always wanted to get back to the active life I had before PKD struck. I promised myself and my family I would cherish this gift that someone who died gave me to live my life to its fullest. To take care of it, and most of all pay it forward to those still waiting for the same chance I had. To see PKD to its end and cross the "finish line " with a cure or stop the cyst growth with the drugs we need to see. This has already burdened our family with one of my daughters having major cysts at the age of 33. 
I cannot stop nor can anyone of us until this goal is achieved. My kidney was given to me for a reason and that is to "RUN " and continue to be active till we achieve the end for all of us."


Tom Elias
Team Southern California

Swimming, Track and Field


"This will be my 9th Games, first attended in 1998. I train by lifting weights and walking on the treadmill daily, year 'round. About six months prior to the Games, I begin running on a track, doing wind sprints and taking a couple of long jumps once or twice weekly. At my age (70), I find that going all-out more often than that often leads to pulled muscles. I look forward to seeing old friends at the Games, both on my team and others. People I've run or swum with or against for many years, who I consider remarkable. When I began, I was strongly motivated to win medals, as I felt (still feel) that PKD debilitated me in my youth, even before I was symptomatic. I competed in several sports then, didn't have a clue about PKD, and still did respectably. The transplant made me 30 years younger overnight, and I was at last full strength. Having won a few medals, I'm no longer trying to prove myself, even to myself. So now it's for the sheer joy of being there with people I love and respect."


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©2016, PKD Foundation ·The PKD Foundation is a 501 (c)(3), 509 (a)(1) public charity.

©2016, PKD Foundation ·The PKD Foundation is a 501 (c)(3), 509 (a)(1) public charity.