Sharon Sumner will mark five years with a transplanted heart Aug. 12.
Before that, she's got something else to do: bowl in a national competition.
The 59-year-old Modesto resident is taking part in the U.S. Transplant Games, which started Friday in Madison, Wis.
More than 1,500 recipients of hearts and other organs are competing for medals in track and field, basketball, tennis, swimming, golf and seven other sports.
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The event, put on by the National Kidney Foundation every other year since 1990, serves in part to help transplant recipients stay in shape. The games also show the public the remarkable progress in transplant surgery over the past half-century.
"This will be my first time, so I will be in awe of everything, I'm sure," said Sumner, who was to bowl Sunday and today. She is part of a 35-member team of Northern Californians competing in various sports.
Sumner has bowled for 30 years, a sport she could handle with her heart condition. It was discovered when she was about 6 months old, she told The Bee three months after the transplant.
Sumner received the heart of a 41-year-old East Bay woman at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco.
Five years later, she is doing well, taking half-hour daily walks and advocating for the California Transplant Donor Network.
"I wanted to give back after being given the gift of life," said Sumner, who is married to Jim Sumner and has a grown son and daughter, Fred and Lesley.
The Madison gathering includes families of people who donated organs and tissues upon their death, said Paula Valle, a public relations consultant for the California network.
Among them is the family of Matthew Zaragoza Van Gelderen of Manteca, who was fatally injured in a high school football game in 2005.
A ceremony honoring donors will be held today.
"The games really are to inspire and bring awareness about organ and tissue donation," Valle said.
On the Net: www.transplantgames.org.
Bee staff writer John Holland can be reached at email@example.com or 578-2385.