I hope you have all been enjoying all the Donate Life Month activities that have been happening around our community. I have been one busy girl! I participated in NJ Sharing Network’s 5th Annual 5K Celebration of Life in Bergen Community College this past Sunday April 12, along with nearly 2,000 of my closest friends…and we had a blast!
Donor families, transplant recipients, living donors, those waiting for a transplant, volunteers, elected officials and hospital and corporate sponsors came together and enjoyed a beautiful, sunny day to honor those who gave, pay tribute to transplant recipients who received a second chance at life, offer hope to those still waiting, and remember those who died while waiting…for the gift of life.
This was NJ Sharing Network’s first 5K in Bergen County and we were very lucky to have partnered with Bergen Community College, who was our host. Our 5K Celebration of Life actually served as a kickoff to Bergen Community College’s Health Week, which makes me very proud, because as you know, I like to keep my heart healthy and pumping! 🙂 Although this was a 5K walk, I saw many of the participants running, which was great, but I was just happy to see so many people be active and enjoying the outdoors again!
We had very special guests join us for the program, including Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno who is extremely supportive of NJ Sharing Network’s life-saving mission plus Bergen County Executive James J. Tedesco who shared a touching story about his connection to organ and tissue donation. Z100 radio personality Greg T got the crowd pumped as they lined up to start the walk and at 10 am, the sea of walkers took off to the beat of the bag pipes from the Bergen County Firefighters and Pipe Band. It was quite a sight!
There were so many great activities for all ages. We had selfie stations which many participants took advantage of, we had great music and entertainment throughout the day and we had our NJ Sharing Network tents in which participants could admire the beautiful Quilts of Love and sign the memorial banners. Our Kids Corner with arts and crafts, face painting and a bouncy house was extremely popular! Another great activity offered was the water bottle repurposing tent, in which anyone could bring their used water bottles and make them into reusable art such as bird feeders and planters. So cool! We should all do our part to conserve the environment.
I was also very excited to see the variety of healthy refreshments that were offered. There were salads, egg white sandwiches, fruit, granola bars, etc. Everyone seemed to enjoy the treats and they definitely kept with the “Healthy Week” theme. My favorite was the yogurt parfait. Yum!
Thanks to all of you who participated at our 5K on April 12th. If you haven’t done so already, make sure you check out our 5th Annual 5K Celebration of Life – April 12 photo album on Facebook for a sneak peek of our event day photos! Also, the event got some great media coverage, so please visit our Newsroom so you can read all about it!
Okay, I need to go get ready for my practice run for our next 5K Celebration of Life on June 7 in New Providence, which is a 5K Walk and USATF Certified race. Want to join me? Make sure you sign up online. If you signed up exclusively for the April 12 event but would like to join us for another great day, simply e-mail the wonderful staff at NJ Sharing Network at 5K@njsharingnetwork.org and they will take care of you.
That’s it for now. Enjoy the rest of Donate Life Month and stay healthy!