NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ - This past spring, 10,000 runners and walkers hit the pavement in Long Branch and New Providence raising $1,077,895, to date, to support the life-saving mission of organ and tissue donation in NJ Sharing Network's 9th annual 5K Walk and USATF Certified Race.
For every participant, there is a story as to why they walk -- everyone walks for a purpose, for a person, hope, and second chance for life. The NJ Sharing Network 5K is more than a 5K, it's a celebration of life.
Fundraising will remain open for the 5K Celebration of Life through August 31, 2019. Top team and individual fundraisers will be announced shortly thereafter. Contributions may be made online or mailed to: NJ Sharing Network, 691 Central Avenue, New Providence, NJ 07974 *All checks should be made payable to The NJ Sharing Network Foundation, Memo: 5K.
Teams honored the legacy of donors or expressed appreciation for a second chance at life. Others offered hope to those still waiting, or remembered those who died before an organ became available.
Each team has their own story -- all connected to the life-saving mission of the NJ Sharing Network. With names such as Forever Young, honoring 8 year old Annie Young of Berkeley Heights, raised over $7,000; Val's Pals raised almost $6,000; Linda's Lovees raised over $5,000; Betsy's Dash, Tim's Rangers, Rhat Pack, and FM 101.5 radio personality Bob Williams' "Kim-Bob" Share Your Spare Team, to name a few of the hundreds of teams .
"We are so appreciative to our sponsors, teams, volunteers and attendees who have made this another memorable morning in New Providence,” said Elisse Glennon, executive director of the NJ Sharing Network Foundation. She thanked the large crowd for inspiring their families, friends, and colleagues to walk by the thousands to honor, remember and to give hope.
"Living donors -- your altruism is unmatched; donor families -- thank you for making the choice to bring life to darkness and giving hope to those waiting for a second chance for life. And to the recipients -- thank you for honoring your gift of life in all that you do everyday," said Glennon. "With your continued support, the Sharing Network's commitment to our community is that we will not stop until everyone waiting for a transplant receives one. To the families of our organ and tissue donors, we tell you this every year and we will tell you today, that we will never forget your loved ones."
"More than 115,000 people in the United States are on the wait list for a life saving transplant. In NJ alone, nearly 4,000 residents are on that list," said Wendy Lazarus, Director, Government Relations & Public Affairs at Pfizer, Inc., the presenting sponsor since the inception of this race. "We all know that one organ and tissue donor can save upto 8 lives and restore health to more than 75 others. These numbers underscore the importance of the NJ Sharing Network, whose team works tirelessly, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for those in need of the lifesaving transplant."
Event chair Donna Albanese, gave a kidney to her mother 17 years ago. "We are all in this together," she said. "We are all a family, we all play our part. What we need you to do is to share your story." Click here to view participant stories.
Denise Peoples, a double lung transplant recipient sang the national anthem. Team Marino Makes Miracles, celebrated the life of Nicholas Marino, who gave the gift of life at the age of 24, sounded the horn to kick off the race.
Alexandra Niles, of Betsy's Dash, was the overall race winner, crossing the finish line in 18:26. Hortencia Aliaga Estrada, who ran for Rey Rex, placed second with a time of 19:20. Amanda Occhipinti placed third in 20:19, running for Steve is the Tin Man Team.
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Click here to check out the sponsors that support the NJ Sharing Network’s 5K Walk/Race.
About NJ Sharing Network: NJ Sharing Network is the non-profit organization responsible for the recovery and placement of donated organs and tissue for those in need of a life-saving transplant. Nearly 4,000 New Jersey residents are currently awaiting transplantation. We are also part of the national recovery system, which is in place for the 115,000 people on the national waiting list.
We operate 24/7/365 with a team of over 150 highly trained and dedicated members on staff. Our Governing and Foundation Boards are made up of a diverse group of individuals from both public and private sectors, across a variety of disciplines, and many of whom have been touched by donation including donor families and recipients. They bring great experience and insight to the important and life-saving work that we do.