PRESS RELEASEFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Nancy Fox of Modesto, Emcee, Heart Donor, 209.521.1251
Mary Thang of San Jose, Katalina's mom, 408.396.5741
Demi Rockas of Fairfax, CA, liver recipient Aug. 19, 2005, 415.497.8402
Gilda Vallente of Daly City, kidney recipient Feb. 5, 2006, 650.754.0459
Julie Coleman of Chapel Hill, NC, Justin's mom, 919.967.3221
Team Dean (Karnazes) of San Francisco, runs for Katalina, 415.776.0144
Jeff Shapiro MD, The Relay/Organs 'R' Us, 650.508.9700
ATHLETES GET SET FOR 199-MILE RUN DURING CALIFORNIA'S LONGEST PARTY
SAN FRANCISCO, CA April 3, 2006 - During The Relay on April 8-9, 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. The transfer of the baton from runner to runner symbolizes the transfer of an organ from donor to recipient.
"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 Relay 2006 is dedicated to two-year-old Katalina Thang of San Jose who waits for a heart lung donor, Demi Rockas, liver recipient August 19, 2005, Gilda Vallente, kidney recipient February 5, 2006 and Justin Lord Coleman, organ donor October 17, 2003.
With 4 Olympians, the 2000 "Sportbrain" team ran 36 legs through 36 cities and across the Golden Gate Bridge at midnight in 17 hrs., 55 min., shattering the course record by 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, NASA, Nvidia, Oracle, 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.
"Team Dean" goes green to save baby Katalina. For 200 miles, "Team Dean & Jim" (Vernon), will alternate running and biking with a trailer containing supplies to help find a tiny donor for Katalina. Dean has dedicated solo runs in The Relay 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.
Team Organs 'R' Us (bib 1) represents 90,000 Americans waiting for organ transplants. Chris Domine (kidney recipient) from Brisbane, Greg Osterman (heart recipient) from Loveland, Ohio and Elizabeth Scherle (Anomaly Design, San Rafael), ORU's first runner trainee, will run on the ORU team captained by Rita Comes of Menlo Park and Steve Chin of Mountain View. The ORU team will dedicate their 2006 run to Justin Coleman of Chapel Hill, NC who bettered the lives of 36 others through organ donation. Justin's mother, Julie, and his sister, Chandra Coleman- Ross, will participate on the ORU team.
ORU team dedicates 199-mile run to 27-year-old Justin Lord Coleman of Chapel Hill, NC. After graduating from Brown University, Justin was known as the "soul of the West Wing" while working in the White House for President Clinton as a member of the President's Advance Team. During his eulogy on Martha's Vineyard, President Clinton stated, "if Justin had lived to 127, he could not have been loved more."
Justin donated his organs on October 17,2003 after sustaining a fatal head injury in a car accident in Byron Bay, Australia. Justin's gifts of life bettered the lives of 36 Australians. Members of the ORU team, including Justin's mom, Julie Coleman, and his sister Chandra Coleman-Ross, will dedicate each of the 36 legs of The Relay to the 36 people Justin helped through organ donation.
As they cross the finish on the beach, thousands of runners will remember Justin. Julie Coleman and Chandra Coleman-Ross will present awards to winning teams during the awards ceremony.
After starting with nine teams in 1995, The Relay became the nation's second largest long distance relay in 1997 and has attracted more than 300 teams of 12 runners. The 199-mile course through 36 cities 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."
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.
Nancy Fox, Mary Thang, Demi Rockas, Gilda Vallente, Julie Coleman and others are available for interviews.
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