PRESS RELEASEFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Raaj Gopal, Captain, One for 128, 650.270.7778
Pat Bowling, Captain, Sleepwalkers, 650.862.4624
Jeff Shapiro, Organs 'R' Us ("ORU"), 650.508.9700, run@TheRelay.com
Ultra "Walkman" Raaj Gopal Trains (again) For 128-mile Solo Walk To Save
SAN FRANCISCO, CA April 2, 2006 - During The Relay Walk on April 8-9, walkers will start from the Marin French Cheese Co. and travel 128 miles on teams of 12 to the Beach Boardwalk in Santa Cruz promoting the need for donated organs through ORU. The transfer of the baton from walker to walker symbolizes the transfer of an organ from donor to recipient.
Gilda's Body Ran a Marathon Daily to Survive. During four years of dialysis, Gilda Vallente of Daly City, CA and her husband, Raaj Gopal, continued working at Home Depot. After Raaj ran on team Organs 'R' Us during The 2003 and 2004 Relays, and walked 128 miles solo (31 hrs. 5 min.) during The 2005 Relay Walk, Gilda received two infant kidneys on February 5, 2006. Captain Raaj and team "One for 128" will walk again to help Katalina find a tiny donor.
Katalina Waits for a Heart Lung. Although you would never know it from her smile, two-year-old Katalina Thang of San Jose (born January 5, 2004) has an unhappy heart. After three surgeries, doctors said in September 2004 that Katalina would not survive six months without a transplant. After Team Dean Karnazes dedicated his solo 350-mile run during The 2005 Relay and Raaj Gopal dedicated his solo 128-mile during The 2005 Relay Walk to her, Katalina was prepped to receive new organs but the lungs were found to be damaged.
Pat recruits couch potatoes for Sleepwalkers team. After walking 50 miles with "Walkman" Raaj Gopal during The 2005 Relay Walk, Pat Bowling of Burlingame, CA, recruited her family to walk for Katalina during The 2006 Relay Walk. After one week, Pat was concerned that her team members could not walk a block. After losing weight during three months of training,, the Sleepwalkers are ready to each walk two, approximately 5 mile legs including crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. "The Sleepwalkers are on a mission to find Katalina a donor and cross the finish ahead of team One for 128," says Captain Pat.
The Relay Walk is not about being the fastest. It is about doing the best one can for their team in a celebration of life and walking. While conquering as a team what few dare to face alone, walkers 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 or walk, organ donation saves lives," says ORU coach Jeff Shapiro.
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