Man Who Lived 550 Days Without a Heart Will Participate In Gift of Life MOTTEP’s 19th Annual Walk/Run July 30 at Detroit's Belle Isle

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Henry Ford Health System and University of Michigan lead the way

The Gift of Life MOTTEP (Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program) Life Walk/Run on Detroit’s Belle Isle will feature heart transplant recipients and brothers Stan and Dominique Larkin.

The men will help bolster awareness about the urgent need for more minority organ donors at the walk/run, which is the state’s largest event promoting organ, eye and tissue donation.

After he collapsed while playing basketball in 2007, Stan Larkin - then 16 - was diagnosed with Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia, a heart condition that is the leading cause of sudden death among young athletes. Stan’s doctors recommended testing for his immediate family members and they discovered his younger brother, Dominique, also had the heart condition. He lived without a fully-functioning heart for more than seven years, and finally received a heart transplant in January 2015. Stan set a record for carrying a portable artificial heart in a backpack the longest - a year and a half - while waiting for the heart he finally received from a donor in May, marking the end of a nine-year journey and the beginning of a new life.

Now in their 20s, Stan and Dominique’s unique bond and journey highlights the need for minorities to become organ donors. They waited so long because no hearts were available for them.

“Attracting minority donors tends to be more challenging in light of the continued mistrust by many African Americans - especially males - who fear that they will not be treated fairly by the system,” MOTTEP Director Remonia Chapman explained. “Hopefully, Stan and Dominique’s experience will help to educate others about the transparent process and rewards that come from organ donation.”

Registration for the Walk/Run starts at 7 a.m. Saturday, July 30. Lauralyn Taylor, a Cass Technical High School English teacher, triathlete and an ambassador who promotes the sport of running in Detroit, will serve as Run Master and will lead the 5K and 10K races that kick off at 8 a.m.

The 5K Walk starts at 8:30 a.m., and the Kids’ Fun Run will get underway at 10:25 a.m. Jamir Wilson, a 5-year-old whose mother donated a kidney to his aunt, will serve as the Fun Run Marshal.

Felecia D. Henderson, an assistant managing editor at The Detroit News, has been named the Honorary Angels for LIFE Walk/Run Chair. Champion Co-Chairs are Rico Razo, the city of Detroit’s District 6 Manager, and Sommer Woods, Director of External Relations at M1 Rail.

Register online at Registration is $35 for walkers and $40 for runners. The race is free for kids 12 and younger. Registered participants will receive an event T-shirt.

The University of Michigan Medical Center and Henry Ford Health System are among event sponsors.

To join the Michigan Organ Donor Registry, go to Walk/run participants will have an opportunity to join the registry at the race.

Editor’s note: For interviews and photo opportunities contact Delora Hall Tyler, APR at (248) 354-8705, Cell: (248) 755-6512 or at delorahtyler(at)firstmediagroup(dot)net

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Delora Hall Tyler, APR
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