NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – To continue to raise awareness about organ and tissue donation in New Jersey, NJ Sharing Network will have its first-ever cycling team in the 2014 Gran Fondo NJ, offering four different rides through scenic northern New Jersey on Sunday, September 7.
Elisse Glennon, executive director of the NJ Sharing Network Foundation, said: “The cycling team is an ideal way in which to educate the public about the critical need to register as organ donors. There are now nearly 5,000 people on a waiting list statewide for life-saving transplants.”
Cheryl Cohen of Chesterfield, captain of Team NJ Sharing Network, has a special connection to NJ Sharing Network and is an avid cyclist. Her brother had a heart transplant eight years ago, and she loves to ride.
“NJ Sharing Network is an organization so near and dear to my heart,” Cohen said. “Anything we can do to support such a worthy cause is well worth it. And the more riders we have, the more enjoyable it is.”
One of the riders on Team NJ Sharing Network will be Nancy Bird, whose husband, David, a liver transplant recipient, has been missing since January. Nancy and David are both devoted cyclists, and had planned to ride the Gran Fondo NJ together. Nancy will be riding in her husband’s honor, as the search continues.
David Bird disappeared seven months ago today.
Another rider, Michele Dabal of Mendham, will be marking the ninth anniversary of her liver transplant. She rode the 18-mile segment of the Gran Fondo NJ last year. This year, she will be cycling 42 miles – spreading the life-saving message of NJ Sharing Network along the way.
“There is such a vital shortage of organs in New Jersey,” Dabal said. “The Gran Fondo NJ is a big splash of people; it is a great way to get the message out.”
Dabal, a NJ Sharing Network volunteer, noted that some cyclists tear an anterior cruciate ligament in their knees when riding. Many don’t realize that doctors use donated tissue to repair these ligaments.
“That is another reason why a cycling event is the perfect venue to highlight organ and tissue donation,” she said. “People don’t often think about organ and tissue donation. But when they learn the facts, they realize how important it is to check the box.”
For more information on Team NJ Sharing Network or to register for the September 7th event, please contact Jackie Lue Raia at 908-516-5686 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more, get involved and register as an organ and tissue donor, visit www.NJSharingNetwork.org.