ASPEN, Colo. (April 24) – In honor of Donor Life Month this April, Olympic medalist and organ donor recipient Chris Klug (Aspen, CO) hosted a hometown screening of the documentary film “Ride of Your Life,” which follows Klug during the 2006 World Cup season in order to demonstrate that organ transplants work and are now a part of mainstream medicine.
“The film shows what’s possible after transplants,” said Klug, who underwent a liver transplant in 2000, then went on to win the 2002 Olympic bronze medal for parallel giant slalom. “It is possible to bounce back and live out your dreams. The film tells that story by intertwining my life on the World Cup tour last season with the stories of two women from Denver as they go through the entire transplant process.”
Following the free screening last Saturday at Aspen’s Wheeler Opera House, which hosted 350 people, both women, Hannah Townsend, 17, and Sonya Byrd, 28, appeared onstage to a standing ovation. Each is now one year out from a successful transplant.
“When the girls came up on stage, it really hit the audience hard,” said Klug, a U.S. Snowboarding veteran. “Through the film, the audience had just gone through a very serious part of Hannah and Sonya’s lives and then there they were, live up on stage and doing just fine. Aspen has always been super supportive of me and my career, but there are also a lot of people in this town who have been touched by organ donation. It means a lot to see this kind of support for this project.”
The recipient of the 2007 Delray Beach Film Festival Extreme Sports Film Award, the film was prescreened at the Sundance Film Festival and earlier last week in Denver. Klug hopes for more screenings across the U.S. this year with an eventual release to DVD and a possible deal to air it on television.
Across the country, almost 100,000 people currently await a life-saving organ transplant and sadly 17 die daily while waiting. Klug hopes this film will inspire more to become organ donors.
“I’ve lived a very good life because of my transplant and this is just another way that I can help spread the message of organ donation. We all can save lives and hopefully this helps people realize they can be a hero to someone,” said Klug.
“Ride of Your Life” is sponsored by The Chris Klug Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes life-saving donation and quality of life for recipients, donors, donor families and transplant candidates. For more information The Chris Klug Foundation, check out http://www.chrisklugfoundation.org
A trailer of the film is available at http://www.chrisklug.com/media/ride-of-life.html