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Team Dean (Karnazes) of San Francisco, 415.517.2846
Mary Thang of San Jose, Katalina's mom, 408.396.5741
Jeff Shapiro MD, The Relay/Organs 'R' Us ("ORU"), 650.508.9700
"TEAM DEAN" KARNAZES GOES GREEN TO SAVE BABY KATALINA
SAN FRANCISCO, CA April 3, 2006 - During The Relay on April 8-9, 2006, up to 3,000 runners will start from the Calistoga Mineral Water Company in scenic Napa Valley and travel 199 miles on teams of 12 to the Beach Boardwalk in Santa Cruz promoting the need for donated organs through Organs 'R' Us ("ORU"). The transfer of the baton from runner to runner symbolizes the transfer of an organ from donor to recipient.
Katalina waits for a heart lung donor. Although you would never know it from her smile, two-year-old Katalina Thang (born January 5, 2004) has an unhappy heart. By six months, she had endured three heart surgeries. In September 2004, doctors said Katalina would not survive six months without a new heart and lungs.
In the long run, one man can be a team. For more than 200 entries, the 199-mile Relay is a shared experience with 12-member teams running 36 legs through 36 cities and across the Golden Gate Bridge at midnight. For Team Dean, "California's Longest Party" is no party. Dean has run The Relay solo a remarkable nine times, bettering his time and distance each of the last four years: 199 miles (46 hrs., 17 min. in 2002), 226 miles (57 hrs., 53 min. in 2003), 262 miles (equal to 10 marathons, 75 hrs., 59 min. in 2004) and 350 miles (80 hrs., 43 min. in 2005).
In 2005, Dean started at 2 pm on October 12 from his home in San Francisco. After running 75 miles north, he delivered a bouquet of flowers to the Nicholas Green Memorial Bell Tower in Bodega Bay, dedicated to the seven-year-old boy who was killed in Italy and donated organs to seven Italians. After another 76 miles to the start of The Relay in Calistoga, Dean ran an additional 199 miles finishing late at night on October 15. During Dean's 350-mile adventure, he ran for three nights, burned 50,000 calories and consumed 10 gallons of fluid.
Dean has run 2,500 miles for organ donation during The Relay, the largest event in the world promoting the need for donors. This Ultramarathon man has won the Ultra division 11 times, including nine solo 199-mile plus runs. Dean dedicated 200 plus mile solo runs to Elizabeth Wood (2001 liver recipient at 6 months), David Mehran (2002 liver recipient at 8 months) and Valeria Sanchez (2003 heart recipient at 7 weeks). After Dean ran for Katalina in 2004 (262 miles) and 2005 (350 miles), a donor was found. As Katalina was prepped to receive a new heart and lungs, the lungs were found to be damaged.
Dean's 262-mile (equal to ten marathons) solo run during The Relay 2004 was dedicated to the tenth anniversary of the death of Nicholas Green who donated organs to seven Italians including Maria Pia Pedala. Maria Pia signaled the start of Dean's run in Bodega Bay with a bell she brought from Italy. After traveling 262 miles with Dean, the bell was hung on the Nicholas Green Memorial Bell Tower.
Dean appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman (March 16, 2005) and 60 Minutes with Leslie Stahl (March 28, 2005) following his 262-mile run in 2004. Featuring Dean and Maria Pia Pedala from Italy, The Relay 2004 was covered by four television stations, including RAI from Italy, and 18 publications including USA Today, People Magazine and Readers Digest. Dean has also completed a marathon to the South Pole in 2001 and won the 135-mile race across Death Valley in July 2004. Dean is a member of The North Face Athlete Team and a motivational speaker. His book, "Ultramarathon Man" hit the best seller list in June 2005.
Organs 'R' Us was founded in San Francisco in 1996 and supports 90,000 Americans waiting for organs by generating $25 million in publicity promoting the need for donors through athletics. Through running and walking, ORU members showcase their fitness proving that transplantation restores health. "In the long run, organ donation saves lives," says ORU coach Jeff Shapiro.
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