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6,000 Southlanders to Join Sixth Annual Donate Life Run/Walk on April 26 at Cal State Fullerton
Date:4/22/2008

Nearly 3,000 Family Members of Organ and Tissue Donors to Participate Corporate, Civic, Community and Healthcare Partners Unite to Promote Organ

and Tissue Donation and Support the Donate Life California Registry

LOS ANGELES, April 22 /PRNewswire/ -- A wide and diverse range of organizations will join and support more than 6,000 Southern Californians -- including nearly 3,000 donor family members -- at the sixth annual Donate Life Run/Walk at Cal State Fullerton on April 26 from 7:00 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. The non-competitive 5K run/walk and 1K fitness run draws participants from Santa Barbara and Bakersfield to Riverside and San Diego to inspire enrollment in the statewide Donate Life California Organ and Tissue Donor Registry.

The Donate Life Run/Walk, the largest Donate Life-themed event in the nation, has grown dramatically each year since its founding in 2003. The event is supported by a wide range of corporate, civic, community and healthcare organizations including American Red Cross, Bosley Hair Restoration, Cedars-Sinai Comprehensive Transplant Center, Fullerton School District, Orange County Sheriff's Academy, St. Joseph Hospital Kidney Transplant Program, Vons and Washington Mutual.

"Every April, as we mark National Donate Life Month, it is a joy to see the growth of this event mirror the public's embrace of organ and tissue donation in Southern California," stated Tom Mone, executive vice president and chief executive officer of OneLegacy, the non-profit organ and tissue recovery agency serving the greater Los Angeles area. "The Donate Life Run/Walk honors donors and their families, celebrates the gift of life, and inspires Californians to save lives by signing up on the Donate Life California Registry."

Proceeds from the event will benefit campaigns to spur enrollment in the Donate Life California Organ & Tissue Donor Registry, which will have registered three million donors by the end of April.

"The Donate Life California Registry is an essential tool in our quest to end deaths on the national organ transplant waiting list," said Bryan Stewart, president of Donate Life California. "Signing up ensures your decision to donate is honored and relieves your family of the responsibility of making such an important decision at a difficult time."

More than 100 teams of walkers inspired by organ and tissue donors, organ recipients, and transplant candidates form the heart of the Donate Life Run/Walk experience. Among them are:

-- Thirteen school superintendents -- Sandra Barry, superintendent of the

Anaheim School District, is taking early retirement to donate a kidney

to her son. She will be joined by 12 other area school district

superintendents plus 50 others;

-- Nineteen mayors from Orange County cities including Aliso Viejo, Brea,

Cypress, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Huntington Beach, La Habra, La

Palma, Laguna Niguel, Los Alamitos, Newport Beach, Paramount,

Placentia, Santa Ana, Tustin, Villa Park, Westminster and Yorba Linda.

Civic leaders including Assemblymember Mike Duvall will walk with

constituent donor family members and transplant recipients;

-- Transplant surgeons and employees from Platinum sponsors Cedars-Sinai

Comprehensive Transplant Center and St. Joseph Hospital Kidney

Transplant Program will walk with their patients;

-- "Charlie's Angels", friends and family of former Rams offensive

lineman Charlie Cowan, who passed away April 29, 1998, while awaiting

a kidney transplant;

-- Team BSC (Brian's Support Continues) organized by Shelley Campbell of

Tustin, whose 18-year-old son Brian saved six lives through organ

donation two years ago. Campbell's Run/Walk fundraising web page has

attracted such personalities as baseball great Rod Carew;

-- The Big Four-Oh -- OneLegacy Ambassador Julie Gideon-Smith, San

Clemente, who received a kidney from her sister, celebrates her 40th

birthday this month and will have her party at the Run/Walk;

-- More than 100 Orange County Sheriff's Academy cadets;

-- Team Ortega, in support of Ed Ortega of La Habra, who has participated

in every Run/Walk despite being on dialysis. Ortega has been waiting

six years for a kidney transplant; and

-- Nearly 3,000 donor families, each wearing a t-shirt and button

featuring a photo of a loved one who gave life in their passing. The

Buenos from Los Angeles, one of many donor families who make the

Donate Life Run/Walk an annual family reunion, will bring 113 people

to the event to honor their daughter Christy.

The Donate Life Run/Walk was conceived by event chairmen Kathleen and Craig Hostert of Fullerton. Kathleen, a former Fullerton elementary school teacher, donated a kidney to her husband Craig nine years ago.

"This has truly been an incredible journey," said the Hosterts. "We are so proud of how the Donate Life Run/Walk has grown each year. We are deeply touched by the families who have found the Run/Walk to be a meaningful place for their family reunion keeping the memory of their loved one alive."

Opening ceremonies begin at 8:15 a.m., followed by brief remarks from several speakers including Fullerton Mayor Sharon Quirk; Miryam Mora, executive director, Donate Life California Registry; and two donor families. At approximately 8:45 a.m., eight baskets of doves will be released by organ recipients and donor families. The Run/Walk will also feature a "Circle of Life" garden with 150 photograph-bearing signs honoring donors and recipients.

A post-race Family Festival will feature 75 vendors, carnival rides, radio station Movin' 93.9 and three performances of a BMX Professional Bike Show featuring five extreme sports stunt riders. A snowboard signed by Olympic medalist snowboarder Chris Klug will be given away in an opportunity drawing at the end of the day. The American Red Cross and National Bone Marrow Foundation will hold on-site blood and bone marrow drives.

The public is invited to attend the Family Festival at no charge. Costs to participate in the Run/Walk are $30 for runners and walkers, $20 for individual living donor/recipient, $20 per person for family registration (4 or more only), or $20 per person for Team Registration (10 or more team members required). More information is available at http://www.donatelifeoc.org.

The event is produced by OneLegacy, the non-profit organization dedicated to saving lives through organ and tissue donation in the seven-county greater Los Angeles area. With 200 hospitals, 14 transplant centers and a diverse population of 19 million, OneLegacy is the largest of the 58 federally designated organ recovery agencies in the U.S., and in the world.

Those wishing to make the commitment to donate may register online at http://www.donateLIFEcalifornia.org or its Spanish-language counterpart, http://www.doneVIDAcalifornia.org. For more information, call OneLegacy at (800) 786-4077 or visit http://www.onelegacy.org.


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SOURCE Donate Life Run/Walk
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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