LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--With a continuous goal of inspiring and educating the community about the importance of organ, eye and tissue donation in Southern California, the 16th Annual Donate Life Run/Walk and Family Festival will take place at Cal State Fullerton this Saturday. The largest event of its kind in the U.S., this year’s Run/Walk will gather over 12,000 people who have been touched by donation in one way or another.
Special guests for this year’s Run/Walk include Grammy Award-winning music group All-4-One, ABC 7 news anchor and living kidney donor Phillip Palmer, Orange County Sheriff and donation advocate Sandra Hutchens, and dozens of city officials who will join organ donation advocates and event organizers at the pre-event ceremony. Celebrating their 25th anniversary, All-4-One will perform long-time classics and popular songs from the group, including hits like “I Swear” and “I Can Love You Like That.” The group will also perform the song “When I Needed an Angel,” inspired by Kathleen and Craig's story.
The Donate Life Run/Walk started 16 years ago, when Craig and Kathleen Hostert gathered family and friends together to engage their local communities and raise awareness of organ, eye and tissue donation. They wanted to celebrate the gift of life that Craig received from his wife, Kathleen, and several years later from his son, Justin, when they donated one of their kidneys to help save Craig’s life. Sharing a personal connection to donation, the Hosterts made it their mission to do all they could do to promote donation and help those who are still waiting for a lifesaving transplant.
“We are grateful for the thousands of volunteers and people who join us, year after year, at the Donate Life Run/Walk,” said Kathleen Hostert, executive director of the Run/Walk and public education manager for OneLegacy, the nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives through organ, eye and tissue donation in the seven-county greater Los Angeles area. “Craig and I look forward to this Saturday’s event and welcome everyone to celebrate the power of organ, eye, and tissue donation with friends and family.”
Initially called the Gift of Life Run/Walk, the first event gathered over 1,300 people. On its 16th year, the Donate Life Run/Walk continues attracting people from California and other states that get together on the last Saturday of April to celebrate the lifesaving power of organ, eye and tissue donation.
A VERY SPECIAL EVENT FOR DONOR FAMILIES, RECIPIENTS AND ADVOCATES
Every year hundreds of donor families and thousands of participants gather at the Donate Life Run/Walk to honor the memory of their loved ones; 253 donor-family teams comprised of 4,383 people will join 50 hospital teams; organ, eye and tissue recipients; health and fitness enthusiasts; and dozens of corporate and community groups to celebrate the gift of life.
For some donor families this will be the first year of their participation. Dan and Dana Stump from Long Beach, California, will be walking this year for the first time to honor their son Dylan’s memory. Dylan was the victim of a truck accident when he was 19 years old, and through his organ donation he saved six lives. Just a couple of weeks ago Dan and Dana Stump met with their son’s heart recipient, Erika Heranic, and her husband, Jeff, at a local restaurant that was special to both families. Dylan was a registered donor and this April marks the first anniversary of his death. To celebrate his life and legacy, the Stumps have gathered 142 friends and family members to join their team #hugsfordylan; and they will all walk this coming Saturday to honor his memory. Erika and her husband will be part of the team, and they will join the Stumps at the Run/Walk.
“Dylan registered as an organ, eye, and tissue donor when he got his first driver’s license at the age of 16; and his legacy lives on in the six people he saved through donation,” said Dana Stump, Dylan’s mom, who has recently become a OneLegacy Ambassador and volunteer. “We look forward to being a part of the Donate Life Run/Walk this year and help share the importance of donation.”
Several hospitals and health organizations are also joining the Run/Walk and participating with their team of co-workers and friends. For the fourth consecutive year, OneLambda has participated in the Run/Walk, helping raise funds for the OneLegacy Foundation and encouraging others to learn more about donation. This year’s team consists of 124 participants, including three kidney recipients and two living donors.
The Donate Life Run/Walk is produced by OneLegacy, the nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives through organ, eye, and tissue donation in seven Southern California counties.
“The Donate Life Run/Walk has become an annual tradition for those who have been touched by donation,” said Tom Mone, CEO of OneLegacy. “This year we want to encourage more people who live in the seven counties we serve to choose to donate life by visiting their local DMV or registering online at Donate Life California and help save the lives of more than 20,000 Californians who are currently waiting for a lifesaving organ or enhance the lives of thousands more in need of donated tissue.”
All proceeds from the Donate Life Run/Walk benefit the OneLegacy Foundation, which conducts public education efforts to inspire people to choose donation and funds research to improve the lives of recipients and optimize the organ, eye and tissue recovery process.
This year’s sponsors of the Donate Life Run/Walk include: Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions; W. L. Butler Construction Inc.; and St. Joseph Hoag Health as title sponsors. Additional sponsors include: St. Vincent’s Medical Center, The Whole Enchilada, Jack FM 93.1, Walgreens, Carroll Shelby Foundation, K-Earth 101, GoGo Squeez, Cedars Sinai, Century 21, Titans, Starbucks Coffee, ABC7, KROQ, UC Irvine Health, the American Red Cross, Moss Bros. Auto Group, The R.J. Noble Company, Nothing Bundt Cakes, 94.7 The Wave, 97.1 Amp Radio, The Orange County Sheriff Department, Greystone Specialties, Be a Hero, Become a Donor Foundation, Parkwest General Contractors, KNX 1070 Radio, Corner Bakery Café, OneLambda, Suja, Wescom, Cora J., Skechers, Avalon Fire Protection, Marriott Fullerton, and UCLA Health.
OneLegacy is the nonprofit organization dedicated to saving lives through organ, eye and tissue donation in the seven-county greater Los Angeles area. With more than 200 hospitals, 11 transplant centers and a diverse population of 18.6 million, OneLegacy is the largest organ, eye, and tissue recovery organization in the world. For more information about OneLegacy, visit www.OneLegacy.org, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.