OF A LIFETIME
PRESERVED IN BRONZE.
REALIZING WHAT’S IMPORTANT.
Chris Klug was just getting started on the Alpine Snowboarding World Cup circuit when the results of a routine physical changed his life forever. He learned he had a rare degenerative condition and would eventually need a liver transplant. “The waiting list is the scariest place in the world,” admits Chris. He remembers being left to wonder, “am I ever going to get the call?” To take his mind off things, he lived life to the fullest, snowboarding and training in his hometown of Aspen, Colorado. Then, nine long years after his diagnosis, he finally got the call he had been waiting for. He wondered if he was ready for the surgery, but his mother reassured him, saying, “Your whole life has made you ready for this.”
A U.S. OLYMPIAN LIKE NO OTHER.
“I felt like a brand new engine got dropped in me,” said Chris after his transplant surgery. “And I felt whole and healthy for the first time.” With his newfound strength and motivation, Chris came back to the World Cup circuit in only four months. He went on to qualify for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, making him the first and only transplant recipient to ever compete in any Olympic Games, not to mention win a bronze medal in parallel giant slalom. Chris humbly says, “It was the highlight of my life.”
STILL SPREADING THE WORD.
For Chris, representing Team USA at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games was “a huge opportunity to share the message of organ donation.” But even after retiring from competitive snowboarding, he hasn’t slowed down. Today, Chris continues to raise awareness through two charitable organizations he’s founded.