New Providence, NJ (PRWEB) June 09, 2013
Nearly 6,000 people, all touched in some way by organ and tissue donation, walked or ran through the streets of New Providence today in the 3nd Annual NJ Sharing Network 5K Walk & USATF-Certified Race.
Just under 300 teams participated. Each team, united by matching T-shirts, told a poignant story.
Some teams walked to honor the legacy of a loved one who became an organ donor. Others walked as a tribute to someone whose life was saved by organ and tissue donation. And others participated to give hope to those waiting for a life-saving organ, or to remember someone who died while waiting.
“We are thrilled with the record-breaking turnout,” Peter Rooney, chairman of the NJ Sharing Network Foundation, told the sea of people gathered under clear blue skies. “It is because of all your hard work that we have this amazing event today to support our mission to save and enhance lives through organ and tissue donation.”
The event has raised more than $650,000 so far, though the figure is expected to rise as contributions continue. The philanthropic dollars support research, donor family support programs and education to raise awareness about the life-saving value of organ and tissue donation. Nearly 5,000 people in New Jersey currently are waiting for life-saving organs.
In some teams, organ recipients walked with the families of their donors.
The team, Querido Corazon, honored Jorge Gonzales, who died in a car accident in Florida at the age of 19. His sister and mother, Lucia and Magaly Gonzales, traveled to New Jersey to participate in the 5K with Mark Reagan, of Basking Ridge. Reagan received Jorge's heart.
“As difficult as it was to have lost my brother, this gave me the opportunity to meet Mark. If Jorge could have handpicked Mark he would have. He has brought light into our darkness,” said Lucia Gonzales.
Mark called him
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