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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 20, 2007 - During The Relay Walk on May 5-6, 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.
Katalina Waited Two Years for a Tiny Donor. Although you would never know it from her smile, Katalina Thang of San Jose (born January 5, 2004) had an unhappy heart. After three surgeries, doctors predicted in September 2004 that Katalina would not survive six months without a new heart. After Raaj Gopal (solo) and the Sleepwalkers dedicated their 128-mile walks to her during The 2006 Relay Walk, Katalina received a heart and two lungs on September 4, 2006.
Shawn's Body Walks a Marathon Daily to Survive. When he was eight-days-old, Shawn Stockwell of Eagle River, AK had for Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. After five additional heart surgeries, eight-year-old Shawn and his family moved to Palo Alto in April 2006 to wait for a heart donor. Shawn loves video games and his job filling soda machines at the Ronald McDonald House. Shawn also loves the Beach Boardwalk where he will cheer Relay runners and walkers helping him find a heart donor.
Pat Recruited Couch Potatoes for the 2006 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 finished first in their division. "While spreading Katalina's message during The 2006 Relay Walk, we had the most fun we have ever had," explains Pat. The Sleepwalkers are returning in 2007 to help Shawn find a new heart.
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. With music, food, full moon and glow jewelry, "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 95,000 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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