NJ Sharing Network 5K Celebration of Life Raises Record-Breaking $1 Million

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The 5K Celebration of Life supports the mission to save and enhance lives through organ and tissue donation.

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There are so many heartwarming stories from the families and individuals involved in our 5K. Their lives have truly been transformed through giving.

Thanks to overwhelming support from the community, the NJ Sharing Network Foundation’s signature event of the year, the Annual 5K Celebration of Life, has raised over $1 million for the first time since its inception in 2011.

Each June, thousands of participants travel to NJ Sharing Network headquarters in New Providence to support the organization’s life-saving mission and celebrate the greatest gift: the gift of life through organ and tissue donation. Gathered at this event are donor families, transplant recipients, living donors, those waiting for a transplant, volunteers, elected officials and hospital, corporate and community partners.

The event has seen tremendous growth in its five years of existence. Since the inaugural event in 2011, the funds raised each year by the Annual 5K Celebration of Life has grown over 220 percent. There were approximately 4,000 participants in attendance in 2011 and 10,000 this past June.

“This event is the perfect time to come together and celebrate the gift of life and its success would not be possible without the passion and dedication of our sponsors and supporters,” said Elisse Glennon, vice president and chief administrative officer of NJ Sharing Network and executive director of the Foundation. “There are so many heartwarming stories from the families and individuals involved in our 5K. Their lives have truly been transformed through giving.”

Funds raised by the NJ Sharing Network Foundation are used to save lives through education, research, donor family support and public awareness about the life-saving benefits of organ and tissue donation.

“The Foundation plays an important role in our efforts to save and enhance as many lives as possible through organ and tissue donation,” said Joseph Roth, president and CEO of NJ Sharing Network. “As a nonprofit organization, we are limited in the funding we can allocate to public education and awareness. The Foundation is able to meet that need and it has made an incredible impact.”

One example of educational programs funded by the Foundation is children’s books that teach about organ and tissue donation. Written by New Providence author, Rebecca Perlman Coniglio, Lily’s Laces and Running for Riley follow the protagonist Lily as she attends the Annual 5K Celebration of Life, hears the inspiring stories of donors and their families and learns the importance of donation.

In addition to its public educational programs, the NJ Sharing Network Foundation also supports clinical education and training. The organization’s hospital partners are provided with guest speakers, Continuing Education (CE) classes and other learning resources. NJ Sharing Network’s own staff is also trained to successfully carry out their difficult but ultimately life-saving work through an educational, role playing series known as Effective Arts.

However successful the organization’s research and educational programs may be, life-saving transplants would still not be possible without organ and tissue donors and their families who have made the selfless decision to give the greatest gift. The Foundation acknowledges that and creates opportunities for these families to honor their loved ones’ legacies through ceremonies, tributes and memorials, many of which are displayed at the 5K Celebration of Life.

“NJ Sharing Network’s 5K Celebration of Life is more than just a 5K. It allows my family and friends to honor my sister and the amazing gift she gave to others,” said Maureen Bocknack, sister of organ donor Michelle Bocknack.

This was the first year that the 5K Celebration of Life added a second location at Bergen Community College in April and a third location in the Monmouth or Ocean County area is expected to be added in 2016. To learn more about NJ Sharing Network’s Annual 5K Celebration of Life and to see pictures and video from the events, visit http://www.NJSharingNetwork.org

About the NJ Sharing Network Foundation
The NJ Sharing Network Foundation is committed to increasing the number of lives saved through education, research, donor family support and public awareness about the life-saving benefits of organ and tissue donation and transplantation. Contributions made to the NJ Sharing Network Foundation empower the organization’s efforts and bring us a step closer to providing the greatest gift of all: life.

About NJ Sharing Network
NJ Sharing Network is a non-profit, federally designated organization responsible for the recovery and placement of donated organs and tissue for New Jersey residents in need of life-saving transplants. NJ Sharing Network partners with Donate Life America, a not-for-profit national alliance that drives communities to increase their numbers of registered donors. NJ Sharing Network honors those who gave, pays tribute to those who received, offers hope to those who continue to wait, and remembers the lives lost while waiting...for the gift of life. To learn more, get involved, and register as an organ and tissue donor, visit http://www.NJSharingNetwork.org.

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Jonathan Jaffe
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