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Kathy Groebner of Mankato, MN, Katie Grace's mom, 925.478.1977, firstname.lastname@example.org
Maggie Shepard, Captain, Flaming Calla Lilies, 530.926.5824, email@example.com
Raaj Gopal, Captain, One for 128, 650.270.7778, firstname.lastname@example.org
Pat Bowling, Captain, Sleepwalkers, 650.862.4624, email@example.com
Jeff Shapiro, Organs 'R' Us ("ORU"), 650.508.9700, walk@TheRelay.com
Defending Champion Flaming Calla Lilies Prepare For 128-mile Walk To Save
SAN FRANCISCO, CA March 1, 2009 - During The Relay Walk on May 2-3, walkers will start from the Marin French Cheese Co. and travel 128 miles on teams of 12 to the Swanton Berry Farm in Davenport 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.
The Flaming Calla Lilies, led by Captain Maggie Shepard, crossed the finish line first in 2007 and 2008 (see results) while walking for Carolyn Langford and in memory of Ellen Schlegel, both sisters of Captain Maggie. The Relay Walk 2009 is dedicated to Carolyn who has Biliary Cirrhosis curable only by a liver transplant.
The Relay Walk is also dedicated to Shawn whose body walked a marathon daily to survive. When he was eight-days-old, Shawn Stockwell of Eagle River, AK had surgery 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 received a new heart on July 31, 2008 and will cheer Relay runners and walkers at the finish.
Ultra Walker Raaj Gopal prepares for his fourth solo 128-mile walk. Walkman Raaj won The Relay Walk in 2005 and 2006 while dedicating 128 miles to his wife, Gilda who received two kidneys on February 5, 2006, and Katalina Thang, who received a heart and lungs on September 4, 2006. In 2009, Raaj will walk 128 miles solo supporting Americans waiting for organs.
Pat recruited couch potatoes for the 2006 Sleepwalkers Team. After walking 50 miles with Walkman Raaj during The Relay Walk 2005, Pat Bowling of Burlingame, CA, recruited her family to walk for Katalina Thang during The Relay Walk 2006. 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 - 2008 Relay Walks, we had the most fun we have ever had," explains Pat. The Sleepwalkers are returning in 2009 to celebrate Shawn's 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 100,000 Americans waiting for organs by generating $25 million in publicity promoting the need for donors. Through running and walking, ORU members showcase their fitness proving that transplantation restores health. In the long run or walk, organ donation saves lives.
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