Upcoming 5K aims to recruit, educate potential NJ organ donors
Following successful events earlier this year in Paramus and New Providence, the NJ Sharing Network is reaching out to the Lincroft area with a 5K race to spread its mission of saving and enhancing lives through organ and tissue donation.
The NJ Sharing Network, which has served New Jersey's 14 northernmost counties for nearly 30 years, is a federally designated organ procurement organization affiliated with 54 hospitals across the state. Their 5K, sponsored by the group's charitable foundation, is coming up on Sunday, Aug. 21, at Brookdale Community College.
In addition to race participants, NJ Sharing Network volunteers will be gathering in support of the cause. Those volunteers include Melissa Clarke, whose father Jim suffered a stroke in 2012. When the decision was made to take Jim off of life support, Melissa and her family were approached about donating his organs.
She said thanks to the efforts of the NJ Sharing Network, her father's kidneys were eventually given to two different recipients, both of whom were subsequently able to come off dialysis.
Clarke soon started working with the organization, buoyed by the thought of "knowing that not only do you have a support network out there of people, but somebody got a chance at life out of this sad situation." She now speaks on behalf of the group, including appearances at Motor Vehicle Commission offices where she urges drivers to "check the box" for organ donation on license applications.
Joe Roth, NJ Sharing Network president and CEO, said these outreach efforts serve to identify potential donors, gain authorization and coordinate the recovery of organs, and allocate them to those in need. He is hopeful the 5K will expose even more residents of the Garden State to the group's good works, and educate those people in the process.
"This will bring a whole new population of people interested in organ donation," he said.
Day-of registration opens at 8:30 a.m. on the 21st. To sign up now, or to find out more about the race and the NJ Sharing Network, visit njsharingnetwork.org/5k.
Patrick Lavery produces "New Jersey's First News" and is New Jersey 101.5's morning drive breaking news reporter. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.