PRESS RELEASEFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jeff Shapiro MD, The Relay/Organs 'R' Us, 650.508.9700
Nancy Fox of Modesto, Emcee, Heart Donor, 209.521.1251
Gilda Vallente of Daly City, waits for kidney, 650.754.0459
Team Dean (Karnazes) of San Francisco, will run 262 miles solo, 415.776.0144
Greg Osterman of Loveland, Ohio, Runner, Heart Recipient, 513.697.8744
Mike Corbitt of Pleasanton, Captain, Team Organ-ize the Planet, 510.521.8100
Reg Green of Bodega Bay, Author, "The Nicholas Effect," 818.952.2095
Mike Milich of Boulder Creek, Intermec, 831.338.4961
WHAT HAS 36 LEGS, 24 FEET AND RUNS ALL NIGHT?
SAN FRANCISCO, CA October 19, 2004 - During The Relay, more than 3,500 runners will start from the Calistoga Mineral Water Company on October 23 as "California's Longest Party" gets underway. Stretching from the scenic Napa Valley Wine Country to the Beach Boardwalk in Santa Cruz, this event combines technology and running to promote the critical need for donated organs through Organs 'R' Us.
"Welcome to Calistoga and thanks for supporting Organs 'R' Us," booms Nancy Fox over the loudspeaker. "I am an organ donor. I donated my heart to a 57 year old man from Florida." As mouths drop open in disbelief, Nancy continues. "You heard correctly. I am a heart donor, but we have a race to begin so you will hear the rest of my story at the finish." Nancy sounds the start gun and 12 member teams begin their 24-hour adventure.
The 2001, 2002, and 2004 Relays are dedicated to Nicholas Green, who donated organs to seven Italians in 1994, including Maria Pia Pedala. Representing a grateful Italy, Maria Pia will ring an Italian bell in Calistoga to signal the start of the race. Organs 'R' Us runners will relay the bell 199 miles to Maria Pia at the finish. Maria Pia will hang the bell on the Children's Bell Tower in Bodega Bay with 140 other bells sent by Italian families, schools and churches to express sympathy and gratitude to the Green Family.
Through Organs 'R' Us, the transfer of the baton from runner to runner symbolizes the transfer of an organ from donor to recipient. The 1999 and 2000 Relays were dedicated to 47-year-old Paul McVetty who passed away on October 24, 2000 after waiting four years for a liver. Like Paul, 18 Americans die everyday waiting for organs. Steve Fratus (liver recipient) from Castro Valley, Chris Domine (kidney recipient) from Brisbane, Greg Osterman (heart recipient) from Loveland, Ohio and Nelisa Fullerton (father, Grant is a liver recipient) from Texas will run on the ORU team (bib #1) captained by Rita Comes of Menlo Park.
"Team Dean" Karnazes of San Francisco will attempt the first 262-mile continous run, equal to ten marathons, to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the death of Nicholas Green. Dean dedicated his 226-mile solo run (57 hours, 53 minutes) in 2003 to 1-month-old Valeria Sanchez of Chico, CA, while she waited on life support since she was 5-days-old. Three weeks after Dean's run, Valeria received a heart from a 3-day-old infant. Dean dedicated 199-mile solo runs to David Mehran (age 8 months in 2002) of Burlingame and Elizabeth Wood (age 1 in 2000) while they waited for liver transplants. Valeria, David and Elizabeth represent 2,500 children in the US waiting for organ donors and will cheer Dean at the finish.
With 4 Olympians in 2000, "Sportbrain" covered 199 miles in 17 hrs. and 55 min. and shattered the course record by more than two hours. Many high tech companies will pound the pavement in the corporate division including Applied Biosystems, Bloomberg, Ernst & Young, Genencor, Granite Construction, Hewlett Packard, IBM (Blue Lightning), Intel, Invitrogen, Komag, Lucas Digital, Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, NASA, Nvidia, Oracle, Providian, Scios, Stanford Hospital, US Bank, US Environmental Protection Agency and others. US Air Force, US Army, US Coast Guard (Lifesavers), US Dept. of Justice, Fairfield Police, Vacaville Police and Contra Costa, San Francisco and Santa Clara Fire Departments will compete in the Law Enforcement division.
Greg holds the record for completing seven marathons after receiving a heart transplant. On October 26, 1992 in Cincinnati, Ohio, doctors told Greg's family that he would not survive another 24 hours. Later that day, a stranger's family saved 38-year-old Greg's life by donating a loved one's heart. Greg's Olympic determination has carried him through heart failure and lymphoma and now, across the country, to inspire others by runnng on the Organs 'R' Us team.
The 2003 Relay was dedicated to Gilda Vallente, 36, of Daly City who waits for a kidney. With nine hours of dialysis weekly, Gilda's body runs a marathon to survive. Although she tires easily, Gilda and her husband Raaj Gopal, continue working at Home Depot while waiting for a donor. Raaj will run three legs on Team Organs 'R' Us to promote the need for organ donors.
The 1997 and 1998 Relays were dedicated to Delaney Corbitt of Pleasanton who received a kidney at age 3. While runners crossed the 1997 finish, President Clinton signed a Relay shirt for Delaney at Stanford Hospital. Captain Mike Corbitt will lead team Organ-ize the Planet to celebrate Delaney's good health.
Started in 1995 with just 9 teams, The Relay is the nation's second largest long distance relay attracting 300 teams of 12 runners from the US and Canada. The 199-mile course through 36 cities is divided into 36 segments and boasts the largest number of tourist destinations of any run. Running 3 legs of 3 to 8 miles, participants travel through Calistoga, Napa, Sonoma, Marin, Sausalito, across the Golden Gate Bridge at midnight under a full moon, through San Francisco and Silicon Valley to Santa Cruz.
The Relay is not about being the fastest. It is about doing the best one can for their team in a celebration of life and running. While conquering as a team what few dare to face alone, runners work together to meet challenges and overcome hardships during the 24-hour adventure. Add bands, food, full moon and glow jewelry and "California's Longest Party" is "the most fun 24 feet can have…in the best place on earth."
Technology makes its mark behind the scenes as Bay Area companies donate sophisticated products to make this race one of the most innovative relays ever. Intermec donated the use of $250,000 of bar coding equipment in 1996 when The Relay became the first long distance run to use bar-coding for precise timing. Since 2000, Intermec relayed finish times via a wireless network providing instant online results.
Trimble Navigation maps a course for success by providing Global Positioning System (GPS) mapping technology accurate to within a meter to generate 36 precise leg maps for runners. From a constellation of satellites, 32,000 positions along the 199-mile course are recorded and analyzed using Trimble's state-of-the-art Pathfinder Pro XR GPS Mapping System.
A virtual course will soon be released allowing runners to preview the course terrain. Using advanced Virtual Reality Modeling Language (VRML), Albuquerque-based Rapid Imaging Software imports GPS mapping data into LandForm 3-D terrain viewer software to create an exact replica of the course that runners will experience.
Organs 'R' Us was founded in San Francisco in 1996 and supports transplant recipients, candidates, family members, friends and donor families by promoting organ donation through athletics. Through walking and running, this group showcases their fitness proving that transplantation restores health. "In the long run, organ donation saves lives," says Organs 'R' Us coach Jeff Shapiro.
Maria Pia Pedala, Reg and Maggie Green, Gilda Vallente, David Mehran, "Team Dean" Karnazes, Greg Osterman, emcees Nancy Fox and Sallee D'Anna and others are available for interviews.
|THE RELAY I RUNNERS I COURSE I SPONSORS I VOLUNTEERS I TRAVEL I ORGANS 'R' US|
|© 2004 THE RELAY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.|