Their spirits not dampened by a morning rain, more than 130 runners and walkers turned out to Harborfields High School last weekend to support organ donation with the town’s inaugural 5K Run to Save Lives.
The run, sponsored by town councilmembers Joan Cergol and Mark Cuthbertson, was held Sunday as means to raise awareness of the life-saving importance of organ and tissue donation.
The event, which was sanctioned by USA Track and Field, attracted members of the running community and transplant recipients, a number of whom participated in the race.
Joe Bertollini, a Harborfields High School junior, won the race with a time of 17:28; Nicole Musial, a 15-year-old from upstate Hawthorn was the first woman to cross the finish line with a time of 19:49. Additional results are at Justfinish.net.
Along with the town, SimplyFit Health and Wellness Gym, which has locations in Centerport and Huntington, co-sponsored the event.
All proceeds will go to LiveOnNY, a nonprofit that educates New Yorkers on the importance of organ donation.
Currently, New York ranks dead last among the 50 states in the percentage of residents who are registered donors and each day, every 18 hours a New Yorker dies waiting for a lifesaving transplant.
“Today we saw healthy transplant recipients competing in a 5K race, what is more inspirational than that,” Cuthbertson said. “We can all save lives by registering to be organ donors, let’s get New York out of last place.”
Cergol added, “It is gratifying how eagerly the running community turned out in less than ideal conditions to make the statement that increasing awareness of the need for organ donors is a truly worthwhile cause.
Let’s hope that others pick up the baton and register as donors to save lives.”