May 2010– Susan has been a huge help to the Foundation since she started volunteering in the fall of 2009. If you haven’t had the pleasure of meeting her yet, look for her at the Elephant Rock Ride on June 6th, where she and her husband Brian will be riding with Team Transplant!

How did you become involved with the American Transplant Foundation?

I became involved with the American Transplant Foundation through Team Transplant’s ride at Elephant Rock in 2009. A friend invited me to join the ride, and I really did it thinking it would be a good motivator for me and my husband to get active that spring.

We have been touched by transplant several times, knowing multiple friends and family members who have received life-saving transplants. Becoming an organ donor was something I did when I received my first driver’s license, and learning more about living donation and the power to save and change lives is something that is very, very inspiring to me.
What has been your favorite volunteer event, project, or opportunity and why?

I love Team Transplant because you meet so many great people and get to share the word. Every time we’ve worn our Team Transplant jerseys we get questions from fellow riders about the Foundation, and it feels really great to share the message and (hopefully) get more people involved.

My favorite project, admittedly, is writing the Team Transplant blog. It’s really enjoyable to write and talk about what the various team members are doing to help train, recruit, and raise funds for the big day.

What are you looking forward in the next year?

I’m looking forward to summer! It feels like it’s been such a long winter!

I’m also looking forward to new and interesting ways to be involved with the Foundation. While Team Transplant will forever be very dear to my heart, I know that the opportunities to work with this great team of people will continue beyond June 6th!
Do you have any special talents or interests that people don’t know about?

Many people don’t know that I was a mutton-buster at the Idaho State Fair in 1982! It was a year to remember!

LOL… other than that, I love to cook and entertain friends. To me, there’s nothing more enjoyable than spending a long, balmy summer evening in our yard with a great meal, some nice wine, and conversation that takes you long past when the crickets stop singing.

What is your favorite place to vacation and why?

My husband and I are passionate travelers, and we love to rotate between beach-y vacations and more tourist/city vacations. I still think traveling through rural Italy is one of my all-time favorites—we honeymooned in Rome and Tuscany—but I have to say that the solitude and inky blackness of the night sky over the south pacific in Tahiti is pretty hard to pass up!
Do you have any other thoughts that you would like to share?

Brian and I love to dedicate our ride to the loved ones we know that have benefited from the power of transplant and those that have passed the gift on. We happily dedicate this ride to my Uncle George, heart transplant recipient, my buddy Kelly (happy birthday pal!), a two-time heart recipient, and my father, Frank Sanda, who gave the gift of sight to two people when he lost his brief battle with pulmonary fibrosis in 2008.

We rarely have the opportunity to offer up such life-saving gifts, and I’m proud to know the people who have given this gift so freely and generously.

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