Donate Life Run/Walk Draws More Than 1,000 People

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A run through a Bay Area theme part draws those whose lives have been saved by organ and tissue donation and those whose loved ones became donors, from infants to those in their 80s. Donate Life Run Walk draws attention to the need for others to be helped -- thousands of people throughout the country waiting for organ and tissue transplants.

“Every registered donor represents hope for those who wait and supports our mission to save lives through organ and tissue donation,” Cindy Siljestrom, CTDN Chief Executive Officer.

People touched by the cause of saving lives through organ and tissue donation walked and ran through Great America theme park in Santa Clara on Saturday, Sept. 27 in the Donate Life Run/Walk.

For the fourth year in a row, the Run/Walk, sponsored by the California Transplant Donor Network(CTDN), brought into focus how those who choose to register as donors, or the families who make that choice for their loved ones, can and do help others in need.

“Every registered donor represents hope for those who wait and supports our mission to save lives through organ and tissue donation,” Cindy Siljestrom, CTDN Chief Executive Officer, told the crowd in the shadow of one of the theme park’s roller coasters just after sunrise.

More than 130,000 people in the United States are waiting, sometimes for years, for organ transplants, including 21,000 people in California.

CTDN is the nonprofit, federally-designated organization connecting donors and those who need organs and tissues, as well as educating the public in Northern California and Northern Nevada about the opportunity to register as donors at donateLIFEcalifornia.org and donatelifeNV.org.

The Donate Life Run/Walk, which drew more than 50 teams, raised more than $110,000 to help educate those in communities and hospitals and to hold three annual Donor Family Gatherings to recognize organ and tissue donors and their families in Northern California and Northern Nevada.

Participants included Brandi Coffman, a Bay Area mother who organized a team of family and friends to participate in memory of her son, Blake. He died at just eight weeks old. Through that tragedy, the family decided to choose donation so others could live.

“This was a special day to come together and share Blake’s story,” she said.

The event also included a Kids’ Dash and displays of quilts in remembrance of some of those who have become organ and tissue donors.

Last year, because of the decision by donors and their families to save lives through donation, 287 people became organ donors through CTDN, providing 920 organs for transplant. CTDN also worked with donor families to make possible 2,007 tissue donors, saving or improving the lives of more than 83,000 people.

About the California Transplant Donor Network

The California Transplant Donor Network saves and improves lives by facilitating organ and tissue donation for transplantation. The California Transplant Donor Network helps 170 hospitals in 40 Northern and Central California and Northern Nevada counties offer the option of organ and tissue donation to families whose loved ones have died, coordinates deceased organ recovery and placement, and provides public education with the hope that every resident will become a donor. The California Transplant Donor Network is federally designated as the region’s organ recovery organization. For information, visit http://www.ctdn.org.

Contact: Anthony Borders, CTDN Communications Manager 510.273.1226

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Anthony Borders

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