Saratoga Springs is such an incredibly active and healthy community, and we are lucky enough to have tons of different runs and races to choose from. I wanted to highlight a special one coming up and give a little background on how the race was started and the special cause you are donating to when you participate. I recently spoke with Tonya Pellegrini about the race she started in honor of her close friend, Kristen, the kLaVoy5k. I started the race five years ago in memory of my very best friend, Kristen LaVoy who battled an auto immune kidney disease from the time she was 18 till she passed when she was 36, that was 7 years ago this September 1st.
Kristen had received a kidney transplant when she was 21, this gift gave her about 7 years of peace from all the illness she endured. Simple things most people can do she could do again, like go camping, which is the first thing we did when she was cleared for normal activity. I want people to understand how important living and non-living organ donation is. Someone who Kristen never met gave her such a beautiful gift. There are over 100,000 people waiting for a transplant, most of them children. If people would register to be a donor those numbers would literally be non-existent. I remember how badly Kristen wanted a kidney, it seems so simple but, it’s not.
I thought a 5k event would be a great way to spread the word and remember Kristen at the same time. It’s so awesome every year to see her name on the race banners, t-shirts, and bibs! We have many transplant recipients come to the race to show support. Last year a wonderful women named Debra Goichman came to walk the race on the one year anniversary of her double lung transplant. It’s just such an inspiring day to me to see these people who run/walk for loved ones, past and present or themselves.
Two weeks ago The Center for Donation & Transplant honored me with a community service award for the work I do for them, it was amazing to meet recipients, loved ones, nurses and doctors who advocate every day. I was truly humbled!
The Center for Donation & Transplant (CDT) was established in 1972 and is one of 58 federally designated non-profit organ procurement organizations in the United States. CDT is governed by a Board of Directors and managed by an Executive Director. CDT is a member of the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), which houses the national computer system of patients waiting for transplants, and is also an accredited member of the Association of Organ Procurement Organizations (AOPO). CDT serves a total of 30 counties in New York and Vermont, as well as Fairview Hospital in Berkshire County, Massachusetts.
The race is on April 28th this year, it’s a nice flat course at the Saratoga Springs State Park. We start and end at the warming hut. We give awards to the top finishers in three age categories. Albany Running Exchange is doing our chip timing and music. We have long sleeve moisture wicking t-shirts for the first 200 registered. Welcome relief will be on site to give complimentary before and after race massages and of course we have nourishment for all!
To donate make a check payable to: The Center for Donation & Transplant and mail to Lawrence, 9 Sand Spurrey Rd Malta, NY 12020.