Pat Bluey will fly back to Huntington Beach this weekend decked with medals, but that's hardly the main thing on her mind.
Over the last half-decade, the 50-year-old has won gold in the shotput twice in the United States and taken the top prize for the 400-meter race in Bangkok. But for the last week in Madison, Wis., winning was the last thing on her mind — even though she left with gold medal in volleyball and the 200-meter run, a silver in shotput and a bronze in softball throw.
"When you're there, you cheer for everyone — even the last person, who you know was sick and now they're able to run 100 meters or swim the length of the pool," Bluey said.
The Surf City resident, who works as a word processing operator for a law firm, spent the last week at the U.S. Transplant Games, a national athletic competition for people who have had life-saving organ transplants. Bluey underwent an emergency liver transplant in 2003, and since then, she's represented her region for two reasons: to continue honing her athletic abilities, and to support others who have been through ordeals like hers.