by Lisa Tome
Aaron Rouselle is taking his quest to promote organ donation to the whole world.
Rouselle, 32, of Rising Sun, has committed to compete with Team USA in the 2017 World Transplant Games in Spain in late June. The goal of the games is shared by Rouselle - "to demonstrate the physical success of transplant surgery and to raise awareness of the need to increase organ donation."
He was a standout athlete in Cecil County. In 2015, he endured both penile cancer, which is rare, and liver failure. He survived the bout with cancer. His liver failed, inexplicably and he was on the verge of death. He was on the donor's list for eight hours when he received the organ that both saved and forever changed, his life. He has since become an advocate for Donate Life.
Now, he wants to spread his message further. Initially, Rouselle had hoped to compete in the U.S. Transplant Games. He missed the cutoff, so he opted for the world games.
"Since I got back into sports, everything is better. My brain is better," said Rouselle, who is certified to teach Crossfit. He is now training vigorously at BCF 24 and hitting the basketball courts at West Nottingham Academy. He got involved in the games after reading a story about how promotion of donation can benefit those on the donor list.
That's when he jumped into action. He then told friends about it and they encouraged him to do it. They then backed up their support with donations.
"Everyone has already done so much to help me. But I had to swallow my pride and ask for more help," said Rouselle. He needs to raise $4,000. By Tuesday night, he had $1,600 and has an active go fund me account.
"When I hit a $1,000, I knew there was no backing out. That's when it became real," he said.
He has set his sights on competing in five events - 3 on 3 basketball, indoor volleyball, 4x100 relay, ball toss, and 100 meter dash. "With basketball, I already play a few times a week. This has catapulted me to dunk again. I refuse to not do well," he said. He's training but said there is a fine line between doing and overdoing and he's working to not cross that line. "I get to compete in the old guy division. I'm confident in my abilities but this is to raise awareness for organ donation," he said.
He also said he is proud to represent the USA. "I've never had to work for anything athletically. Now I am. For everyone I've let down in the past, I'm working now and doing it on a bigger scale.”
You can support Rouselle at his go fund me at AR Strong World Transplant Games 2017 or mail a check to Rouselle at P.O. Box 1230 Rising Sun, Md. 21911.