With nearly 10,000 people tuning in to Facebook and YouTube, and thousands more participating over social media, OneLegacys first Donate Life Virtual Run/Walk took place last Saturday, April 25, with a special two-hour live broadcast. The broadcast featured ABC7s news anchor and living kidney donor Phillip Palmer and included appearances from OneLegacy CEO Tom Mone, Donate Life Run/Walks founders and longtime run/walk producers Kathleen and Craig Hostert, Grammy Award-winning group All-4-One, and NASCAR Racer Joey Gase, among many other participants highlighted in the broadcast.
Over 2,500 participants representing 33 U.S. states, 11 countries and seven continents registered online to be part of the Donate Life Virtual Run/Walk, including one participant from Antarctica who joined team Thermo Fischer and watched the broadcast from the South Pole station. Participants prepared their homes for several days to honor their loved ones with circle of life garden signs, chalk art and markers around their blocks to encourage friends and neighbors to participate while observing social distancing, and decorated porches and sidewalks with encouraging messages for their loved ones. Organ donation and advocacy organizations from around the country were also invited to participate, including AOPO (Association of Organ Procurement Organizations), Donate Life Hollywood and its Activate App, JJs Legacy, New Jersey Sharing Network and many others.
Craig and I are immensely grateful for the amount of people who adapted to the current times and enthusiastically joined our first Donate Life Virtual 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. For us, this is an incredible end of an 18-year journey of the Donate Life Run/Walk.
Kathleen and Craig will be retiring this year, and the broadcast was a bittersweet way to step back from their roles. We feel privileged to have served this mission and for being stewards of hope and inspiration after walking out of a dialysis center in 1998. The Donate Life Run/Walks story started at the Hosterts home after Kathleen donated one of her kidneys to her husband, Craig, and they decided to create an event to raise awareness of the power of organ, eye and tissue donation.
Since 2003, the Donate Life Run/Walk, the largest event of its kind in the nation, has gathered over 12,000 participants at Cal State Fullerton every year to celebrate the power of donation and transplantation. In observance of the current pandemic and social distancing measures, OneLegacy made the decision to host its first virtual run/walk in 2020.
This years virtual broadcast also featured OneLegacys organ and tissue operations teams, who work 24/7 as first responders to save and heal the lives of more than 113,000 people who currently wait for a lifesaving or healing transplant. Additionally, OneLegacys Donation Development team was highlighted in the broadcast, as they delivered Meals of Gratitude to the staff of Methodist Hospital in Arcadia. Since the beginning of April, OneLegacy has delivered over 1,000 meals, notes of encouragement and hand sanitizers to local hospitals in the seven counties it serves, thanks to the help of local restaurants like Lees Sandwiches, Raising Canes and Chick-fil-A, who have donated these meals to support first responders during the coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, hospital staff received hand-written cards written by OneLegacy ambassadors to recognize the labor of hospital staff during these difficult times.
The Donate Life Virtual Run/Walk was produced by OneLegacy, the largest organ procurement organization in the U.S. dedicated to saving lives through organ, eye and tissue donation in seven Southern California counties. All proceeds from the Donate Life Virtual Run/Walk will benefit the OneLegacy Foundation, with a goal to enhance OneLegacys public education efforts to inspire others to donate life and conduct research studies to improve the lives of recipients and optimize the organ, eye and tissue recovery process.
The 2020 sponsors for OneLegacys first Donate Life Virtual Run/Walk included ABC7, Albertsons, Vons, Pavilions, W.L. Butler, The Whole Enchilada, CareDx, Cedars-Sinai, Century 21, UC Irvine Health, Skechers, R. J. Noble, Tangent Systems, Greystone, CRCA (Consumer Reporting Compliance Associates) and Wescom.
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, 10 transplant centers and a diverse population of 22 million, OneLegacy is the largest organ, eye and tissue recovery organization in the world.