LONG BRANCH AND NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ — NJ Sharing Network, the nonprofit organization responsible for the recovery of organs and tissue for nearly 4,000 New Jersey residents awaiting life-saving transplants, announces its 5K Celebration of Life. 

Thousands of walkers, runners and volunteers will honor those who gave the gift of life, pay tribute to those who have received a transplant, offer hope to those currently waiting for a transplant and remember those who passed away while waiting for the gift of life.

The 5K Celebration of Life kicks off on Sunday, May 19 at the Great Lawn at the Ocean Promenade in Long Branch, followed by the organization’s flagship event on Sunday, June 2 at NJ Sharing Network’s headquarters located at 691 Central Avenue in New Providence. Both events are a 5K walk and USATF-certified race.

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Participants can expect a day of music, dancing, food trucks, kids’ activities, sponsor giveaways and countless human interest stories attesting to the power of organ and tissue donation. Attendees may see the families of organ and tissue donors embracing transplant recipients, living kidney donors walking alongside the person whose life they saved, teams rallying around a community member currently waiting for a transplant, and New Jersey residents showing their support for a worthy cause.

Team Buck will be honoring two individuals this year at the Long Branch 5K — Dan Buckiewicz of Howell, the team’s namesake who gave the gift of life 10 years ago, enhancing the lives of more than 70 people, as well as a family friend, Joyce Novotny, who was a member and supporter of Team Buck. Two years ago, she was involved in a tragic accident, and saved the lives of eight by donating her organs.

“The 5K Celebration of Life events bring together donor families, transplant recipients, those waiting for a transplant, volunteers, sponsors and partners, all of whom play an integral role in making our life-saving mission possible,” said NJ Sharing Network President and CEO Joe Roth. “The sheer volume of support, compassion and dedication is palpable as our teams walk and run to celebrate the gift of life.”   

Through the 5K Celebration of Life, NJ Sharing Network’s foundation hopes to raise $1.25 million to increase the number of lives saved through innovative research, family support, public awareness and education about the life-saving benefits of organ and tissue donation and transplantation.

In 2018, 678 life-saving transplants were made possible, 537 from deceased donors and an additional 141 from living donors. Today, there are nearly 4,000 New Jersey residents awaiting a life-saving transplant. Every day, approximately three people are added to the New Jersey waiting list, and one person dies every three days while waiting for a transplant. One organ donor can save eight lives and one tissue donor can restore health to over 75 people. New Jersey residents can help save lives by registering as organ and tissue donors, having a conversation with family and friends and getting involved at www.NJSharingNetwork.org.

Participants, sponsors and volunteers interested in participating in the 5K Celebration of Life can learn more and sign up at www.NJSharingNetwork.org/5k.

About NJ Sharing Network

Dedicated to saving lives through organ and tissue donation, NJ Sharing Network is the nonprofit organization responsible for the recovery and placement of donated organs and tissue for the nearly 4,000 New Jersey residents waiting for a life-saving transplant, and is also part of the national recovery system, serving the 115,000 people on the national waiting list. With headquarters in New Providence, the organization has been selected by NJBiz as one of the state’s “Best Places to Work” for the second consecutive year. In 2020, the Transplant Games of America are coming to NJ with more than 12,000 people expected to attend this biennial multi-sport festival recognizing the success of donation and transplantation and honoring the generosity of donors and their families. New Jersey residents can help save lives by registering as organ and tissue donors at www.NJSharingNetwork.org, having a conversation with family and friends and joining NJ Sharing Network at its upcoming events.