2012 Donate Life Run/Walk

13 May

Since last November (2011), a committee has been working toward putting on the Tenth Annual Donate Life Run/Walk to be held at Cal State Fullerton on April 28, 2012.  There

The GGs

have been meetings upon meetings as well as many preparations performed by the Golden Girls (The GGs).  We do much of the grunt work in the office such as making buttons (large, small and square), getting supplies, sending thank you notes to every registered participant and monetary donors and doing our normal duties of taking inventory, sending supplies to Donate Life Ambassadors and a multitude of other tasks that save our bosses lots of time.  But the final six weeks prior to the actual Run/Walk event finds us shifting into high gear.  I’m there every day putting in just about a full 8 hours (some days) and the other “girls” are, too.  This year, the pressure seemed to get to us more than in past years, due to various factors over which we had no control…illness, accidents and fatigue.

The aisles are getting smaller!

We’ve known for some time that our little warehouse is too small, but these past 6 weeks proved it.  We received many boxes of flying rings (frisbies), chap sticks, mints, key chains, coffee mugs, and other too dads that we send to ambassadors and will give away to the 10,000 runners/walkers.  I was able to get most of that stuff off the floor and onto shelves just in time to begin receiving the donor family t shirts.  Each donor family team member received a special shirt with our logo on the front and their loved one’s picture on the back.  Each shirt had to be counted and sized, matched up with the correct number of buttons that we’d already made and then placed into a plastic bag to be stored until the day before the event when they were moved to special box which then went to Cal State Fullerton to await the donor families.  231 donor families had teams ranging from 1 to 105 members which extrapolated out to more than 3000 shirts.  Normally, this is not too big of a problem, but the t shirt man caused great consternation this year with short orders, many wrong sizes, and doubling of orders.  Plus he had a terrible habit of not arriving with the order when he said he’d be there.  He delivered his final order about 11 PM Friday night and the families arrived before 7 AM the next morning.  That’s cutting it too close!  Needless to say, we’re looking for another t shirt person.

Shirts ready to transport

This shot shows a few of our shirts ready to go to the special boxes.  They represent a lot of sweat and aggravation But we respect the donor families so much that we try very hard to get them just right so that the families will have this to help

Moving the shirts to boxes and then to the campus

them enjoy the day.  The picture to the right shows just part of the process of getting the shirts in the right boxes.  The morning of the event, the boxes are lined up on a field where the families gather around and don their new shirts along with signs we have made for them to carry.  It’s quite a to-do these days.  Many of the families have made it like a family reunion and even bring their barbecues, EZ ups and their own banners.  It’s an amazing sight.

Jolee, Jason and Scott (niece and nephews) came down from Minden, NV to help us get ready and help they did.  Luckily, they have muscles and incredible stamina that take quite a load off us.  They also have a lot of fun with each other and make light of hard work.  I enjoy being with them so much.  They make me feel a lot younger!

Preparing signs for the walk route

This was just one of the tasks they did at the office.  They also went to the campus and spent hours placing hundreds of signs along the route.  They earned their stripes those two days!

Saturday morning arrived very early.  I was on campus about 5:15 preparing my VIP checkin area and the kids arrived to finish off their area about 5:30, I think.  I liken the Run/Walk to a rainstorm.  It begins with a little sprinkle as people trickle in to register, then the storm really arrives with thousands of people swarming around the site before, during and after the race.  Then the rain peters out again as the event winds down, people go home and we begin our cleanup detail.  It is an amazing event when all our preparation coalesces into a successful happening.  More than 11,000 people attended the event this year…about a thousand more than we expected.

The kids and I posed for a couple of pictures before the race using Scott’s infamous pose that we all have to use at one time

The Pose in front of the Porta Potty

or another when we get together.  Luckily, he doesn’t have a copyright on it or he’d sue us for infringement.

Scott trained very hard for this race as he wanted to improve his 3rd place in the 2011 race.  One of his training methods was to run for miles wearing his fire fighting gear at altitude in Nevada and his

Yea, Scott!

hard work paid off.    He came in second in his age division with a 5K time of 18:50 and he was sprinting when he crossed the finished line!  Scott said his time improved by almost 2 minutes.  That’s my nephew!  Jolee and Jason also finished well ahead of the pack but didn’t place in the top three.  I was proud of all three of them.  Scott really touched me when he said it was an honor to run in memory of Uncle Bob and Bob’s heart donor, Tim.

After they cooled down a bit, we went to the Garden of Life which has many pictures of donors, people who are waiting for organs and people who have passed.  About 165 posters were made and placed in the Garden.  It has become such a focus point and memorable place that families sort of camp out by their loved one’s picture.  Some bring flowers or other tokens of affection to remember them and then they take the poster home with them.  It’s quite an inspirational place, one that often brings tears.  I had a picture of Bob, one of Tim on a raft in Lake Tahoe and one of Joan, a good friend who recently passed away.

In the Garden with Uncle Bob

I had to go back to work in the VIP area, but the kids wandered around the exhibitors’ area, bought some raffle tickets and even won a prize.  The medals were presented and we cheered Scott like the fan club we were.  The kids helped me pack up the VIP area and we were ready to go to the Pint House for their special treats of the the afternoon.  Kathleen gave me special dispensation to leave early for which I was thankful.  I was very tired and wanted to spend some quality time with the kids.  We had a great afternoon and evening together.

In my estimation, the 2012 Run/Walk was a great success as evidenced by the numbers of people attending, participating and having fun.  Kathleen said a week later that she had received no negative reviews and had many positive comments along with many thanking her for providing such a positive, inspirational event.  We know that we always have room to improve, but we feel that we met our goal of celebrating life, donor families and those who are awaiting organs, tissue and eyes.

In closing, they say pictures are worth a thousand words and here are a few more thousand words to let you see a bit more of the event.

The starting line. Did you ever see so many white shirts?

Us with our heroes

Scott’s Chicks

‘Nuff said!

One Response to “2012 Donate Life Run/Walk”

  1. janishaag May 13, 2012 at 4:03 pm #

    Congrats on another successful run/walk–the work you and the GGs do is beyond amazing. And super help from your Nevada team, too! Bravo!

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