If you like running or walking for a good cause, The Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency (MORA) is looking for runners and walkers to participate in their 6th Annual Racing for Donation 8K.
The event will be held at the MORA Headquarters at 4400 Lakeland Drive in Flowood.
The Racing for Donation 8K is a fundraising event that boosts the Public Education Fund of MORA to promote the growing needs for organ, eye, and tissue donation in Mississippi.
To pay respects to organ, eye, and tissue donors, there will be a balloon release ceremony.
Transplant recipients and donor families will also participate in the event.
Recipient Brad Fitzgerald waited for 8 months to receive his heart, and he told News Mississippi that he plans to run in the 8K.
Fitzgerald said he is a lot luckier than the 20 people a day who die waiting for a transplant.
“You sit there by the phone, scared to go anywhere that may not have service,” said Fitzgerald. “And eventually, you learn to know when the call isn’t coming that day.”
Fitzgerald, of McComb, said the day he got the call, there was severe weather across the state, and his wife and daughter were on the coast for a soccer game.
“So I called my friend, a deputy sheriff,” said Fitzgerald. “And I told him I had to get to Jackson. All he asked was ‘where are you,’ and I was here in plenty of time.”
Fitzgerald said that after eight months of waiting, and 14 years with a heart weakened by infection, he knew immediately after surgery that his life had been saved.
“I knew as soon as I woke up,” said Fitzgerald. “I felt a blood volume that I’d never felt before.”
The recipient said he knows very little of his donor, and hopes to one day meet his family.
“I only know his age,” Fitzgerald said. “And I’ve written a letter to his family.”
Whether or not Fitzgerald will ever meet the donor’s family is up to them. But if he does get the opportunity, he said his message is short and sweet.
“I love you,” he said through tears. “And your loved one has made more of a difference than I could ever tell you.”
For more information on this event, visit http://www.msora.org/.