In 1991 Olympic snowboard medalist Chris Klug was diagnosed with primary schlerosing cholangitis (the same diagnosis my husband received), and nine years later, like John, Chris needed a liver transplant. When John first received the news, he mentally calculated the time the surgery would take out of his life. His first question was, “When can I ski again?”
I had just read Chris’s book, To the Edge and Back, about Chris’s battle with PSC, his liver transplant and his subsequent rise in snowboard racing. When I told John that Chris was back on his snowboard is less than two months, John smiled.
“Not bad,” he said. “I can do that too.”
Last winter, John and I met Chris at the 2010 Olympics. Cypress, a ski area in our company, hosted the snowboard and freestyle events. At a pre-race event John and Chris exchanged stories and compared scars (think a mercedes logo or an upside Y that covers the entire abdomen).
The two most remarkable things about Chris are his attitude and his compassion. He truly cares about other people, and that’s why he started the Chris Klug Foundation to spread the message about organ and tissue donation, with hopes of “promoting lifesaving donation and improving the quality of life for donors, donor families, organ transplant candidates and recipients.” Not for himself (he already got his transplant), but for the more than one hundred thousand people waiting for life-saving organ transplants.
Chris has dedicated his life to donor awareness, signing up countless people for organ and tissue donation. He travels across the country bringing his message to his “donor dudes”. Chris is a true hero. Check him out at www.chrisklugfoundation.org. His work is inspiring.