Team Give Life Featured in RAAM Press Release Thursday, June 09, 2005
OLYMPIAN, DR. ERIC HEIDEN OF `TEAM DONATE LIFE,' AND `TEAM GIVE LIFE' `RACE ACROSS AMERICA' TO RAISE AWARENESS OF NEED FOR ORGAN DONATIONS
88,497 People in US Awaiting Organ Transplant
TEMPE, Arizona-2005 Insight Race Across America (RAAM), the world's longest ultra marathon cycling event, welcomes five-time Olympic gold medalist and pro cyclist Dr. Eric Heiden and his team `Team Donate Life,' and transplant recipient, Lou Lamoureux's and his team `Team Give Life.' Both teams will cycle 3052-miles (4912 km) non-stop through the heartland of America to raise awareness of the need for organ donations in the US. 130 athletes head inland from San Diego, California, in two waves, solo riders depart on June 19th and teams on June 21st in all out race to the finish in Atlantic City, NJ.
Dr. Eric Heiden is no stranger to RAAM, having witnessed his first race in 1983 as a guest commentator for ABC's Wide World of Sports. Heiden will ride in the Corporate Challenge Division, an 8-person team, with Team Donate Life, a group of medical professionals and a living organ donor, from University of California, Davis. "Organ donation saves peoples' lives, and there can be no greater love or joy in the world than to give the gift of life," says Heiden.
Similar to the yellow "LiveStrong" band that Lance Armstrong inspired, Heiden and Team Donate Life teammates sport green bracelets that say `Donate Life' to raise awareness for their cause.
Lou Lamoureux, a gold medallist in '02 World Transplant Games, received a kidney from his mother in 2000. His story is a story of personal triumph. Lamoureux will be riding with `Team Give Life,' in the 4-person Men's Division. Lou and his team seek to raise $100,000 to increase awareness of the chronic shortage of the U.S. blood supply and encourage the donation of blood, blood products, organs and tissues. "Recycle yourself. Sign an organ donor card. Let your family know your wishes," says Lamoureux. "After you pass on, your organs can help improve the lives of up to 50 people! Now that's a great legacy to leave behind."
Some Facts About Organ Transplants
Currently 88,500 people are on the organ transplant list and a name is added every 15 minutes. 1/3 of them will die before a donor can be found. The good news is transplantation is no longer considered experimental. Each year, 25,000 people receive organ transplants with a success rate of 80%.
Jason Weckworth, Team Captain of Team Donate Life, donated a kidney to his father in 2002. "Unfortunately, we see many people lose their battle with life because time ran out. It doesn't have to be this way. Live organ donors, like myself, can still live out a completely healthy and normal lifestyle after donating and even compete in an extreme ultra-endurance event like RAAM." Four month's after Weckworth donated his kidney to his father he competed in the California International Marathon. Last year, approximately 7,000 kidney, partial liver, and partial lung transplants were performed from living donors.
Dr. Eric Heiden and Team Donate Life teammate Dr. Massimo Testa can be heard on the Adventure Sports Radio Show, Sunday night, June 12, 7-8 p.m. on KTKZ (1380 AM) in Sacramento or online at www.ktkz.com.
About Insight Race Across America The Insight Race Across America has run every year since 1982, and since 2003 has followed its current route from San Diego, California to Atlantic City, New Jersey. *Outside Magazine has called it "The World's Toughest Race", and others have described it as "The Tour de France done the American way". Top individual racers pedal roughly 350 miles per day, burning 9,000+ calories and sleeping just 90 minutes. Two-person and four-person relays comprising men and women race non-stop, covering over 500 miles per day. The race's senior management and ownership is in the hands of Race Director Jim Pitre, current co-holder of the 2-person 55+ Team record, and Head Official Lon Haldeman, 2 time solo winner in 1982 and 1983. For further background and race history, please visit www.raceacrossamerica.org.
*In 2003 Outside magazine rated the world's toughest races:
1. Race Across America, bike 3051 miles, 676.2 points
2. Vendee Globe Challenge, sail around the world, 675.0 points
3. Iditarod Sled Dog Race, mush 1,100 miles in Alaska, 417.5 points
8. Hawaii Ironman Triathlon , swim 2.4 miles/ bike 112 / run 26.2, 67.2 points