7th-graders push for more organ donors, Corpus Christi, Texas Jan. 8 race highlights the need
By Jessica Savage | The Caller
CORPUS CHRISTI — Four months ago five friends donated their teamwork, creativity and problem-solving skills to hatch an idea that would bring people en masse for one cause.
Out of it came a plan for the first Organ Donor Dash — a 5K run and 2K walk set for 8:30 a.m. Saturday in Corpus Christi.
“There’s just a huge need for organ donors,” said Diane McBride, a seventh-grader at Baker Middle School. She and Kianna Young, Adriana Weddle, Katie Buschang and Vanessa Sherry have planned the project since August.
A population one-third the size of Corpus Christi is on a waiting list to receive an organ transplant in the U.S. In Texas, there are 10,000 in need of an organ transplant with 1.3 million signed up to give, a figure local advocates hope to grow with the event.
On average, 18 people on the list die each day.
“You have the ability to save someone’s life,” said heart transplant recipient William Farmer, who helps run the Transplant Support Group in Corpus Christi.
He plans to attend the race along with Sandra Bickle, the twin sister of his organ donor who died in car wreck 13 years ago. Farmer was one of 55 people who received an organ or tissue donation from Bickel’s brother, Scott. She said she was inspired to walk the 2K after hearing that it was organized by seventh-grade girls.
“I’m touched by kids at that age who have an understanding of the meaning of life and what it means to give,” she said.
Attending the race also is a way she can keep the meaning of Scott’s life alive, she said.
Southwest Transplant Alliance, Corpus Christi’s organ donor facilitator, has invited family members of donors and recipients to speak at the event and will have a registration list available for those who want to sign up.
In the days leading up to the event, the girls had a meeting to catch up on what still needed to be done. One worked on race medals, another took a closer look at the budget to make sure they had enough money to order T-shirts for participants.
The girls planned the event as a project for Destination Imagination, a creative problem-solving educational organization for youths and adults. They’ll present a final report about the race turnout at a regional competition in March.
Although they aren’t old enough to donate an organ, they hope the event will be inspired more people to register.
“I guess we’re not the average kids anymore,” Diane said. “We’re ODD (Organ Donor Dash).”
Organ Donor Dash
What: 5K run or 2K walk
When: 8:30 a.m. Saturday
Where: Brewster Street Ice House
Registration: Fleet Feet, Café Calypso or OrganDonorDash.com. The fee is $25 a person or $30 the day of the race. There will be awards, door prizes and $12 breakfast. Money collected covers the cost of hosting the event.