Lake Norman News | Marjorie Dana
The morning of June 2, the ninth annual Collier Lilly Ride 4 Life cycling event will start on the Davidson College campus.
The event offers 15K, 50K or 100K routes and covers scenic back roads in Mecklenburg, Iredell, Rowan and Cabarrus counties.
The goal is to raise funds and awareness for the need for organ donation. Proceeds benefits LifeShare of the Carolinas, a not-for-profit organ-procurement organization based in Charlotte that works with 40 hospitals in 22 North Carolina counties.
According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, more than 114,000 individuals are on the transplant waiting list in the U.S., including more than 3,000 in North Carolina. Each day, 18 patients die. One donor can help as many as 75 individuals.
One lucky transplant recipient is Rich Cooper of Mooresville, who had a liver transplant in 2009. Cooper volunteered at the Collier Lilly Ride in 2011 and plans to again this year. He was unable to volunteer in 2010 due to his extensive rehabilitation after his transplant.
“It is imperative that I volunteer at the ride whenever possible,” said Cooper.
“On the day that you open your eyes after surgery and realize you are alive and have been given a second chance at life by a special individual and family, it is an emotional and surreal experience. More important, my participation in the ride is my way of giving back and honoring a special individual, who I will never know, who donated his organs to save my life.”
Due to his rapidly deteriorating condition, Cooper was on the waiting list for four days before receiving his transplant. Cooper, a husband and father, remembers those as four frightening days of knowing there was no medication that could save him and reflecting on what his legacy would be if he did not receive a liver in time.
Read more: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2012/05/11/3231692/collier-lilly-ride-4-life-cycling.html