CARNEY, Md. (WJZ)– Right now, more than 113,000 people are waiting for organ transplants. A little over 28,000 will get them.

As Mike Schuh reports, survivors from across the nation, including Maryland, will gather to celebrate and compete.

Seven months after this now five-year-old was born, she nearly died.

“My heart was very sick,” Olivia Strama explains.

So sick, a machine was keeping her alive.

“And a nurse came in and said, ‘We have a heart’. Twelve hours later, which is a record for Hopkins,” Amanda Strama, Olivia Strama’s mother, said.

“They gave me a new heart,” Olivia Strama said.

Her heart transplant obviously worked. She’s happy to have what she calls her zipper.

Schuh: “What are these?”
Olivia Strama: “Medals.”

And she is a transplant athlete.

“This one for jumping, this one for bowling,” Olivia Strama explains.

At three, she competed in what’s called the transplant games. Now, at five, she’s leaving on Friday to compete in them. Her competitors: All transplant survivors.

A beautiful child full of life, It’s easy to see why her mom gets choked up when talking about the donor and their families.

“You walk by people on the street and you think of them now as heros,” Amanda Strama said. “You think about someone who has that little heart on their license and it could be anyone you’re walking by. And any day, God forbid, something could happen and they save nine other people’s lives.”

The great thing about a 5-year-old athlete– they’re not afraid to share their training secrets with you.

“I run and then I jump,” Olivia Strama said.

Good luck, little girl. You appear to be winning the most important event of them all.

There are 29 athletes from Maryland competing in Michigan. The games start on Friday.


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