FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21Alive) – Despite the rain more than 100 people walked together Saturday to raise awareness about the importance of being an organ donor. The walk was the first Indiana Organ Procurement Organization’s 5K to be held in Fort Wayne.
One of the people walking, Rhonda Berger, lost her daughter almost five years ago, but says her daughter lives on because she was an organ donor.
In 2009 19-year-old Jennifer Spurgeon’s apartment caught fire while she was inside. She died from her injuries. It was a tragic day for her mother, but now she sees her daughter’s life live on inside two other people.
"Seeing what good it does has been a real positive aspect of this whole tragedy,” said Berger.
Betty Ritchie and Zachery Stanley are both alive today because Jennifer decided to be an organ donor.
"If she'd give her life to save mine, she's a very special person,” said Betty Ritchie.
"She wanted to be a donor, you know, should something happen. So we was able to grant her that last wish,” said Berger.
Together they walked in the 5K Saturday.
"It's almost like we're family now. I have a part of her daughter inside of me and that creates a special bond between us,” said Zachery Stanley.
There are millions of people just like Jennifer, willing to donate their organs, but still each day 18 people in America die while waiting for an organ donation.
"At the end of your life, you have so many valuable medical resources that are life saving that could often just go to waste,” said Sam Davis, Indiana Organ Procurement Organization.
A similar event is held every year in Indianapolis, but this is the first time the organization has held a 5K in the Summit City. They hope to make it an annual event.
To register to be an organ donor go to donatelifeindiana.org or visit any BMV branch.
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