Our View: Gift of Life is a worthy cause to support

This weekend, more than 100 runners are expected to take to the streets to raise funds for a cause that has the potential to save thousands of lives.

The annual Gift of Life 5K is hosted in Winchester Saturday. The event raises funds for the Satterwhite patient assistance fund, which is part of the state Trust for Life organ donor registration program.

Organ transplant recipients in “grave” financial situations can apply for grants from the fund twice in their lifetime for up to $100,000 for expenses, including medication, medical equipment or other things not covered by insurance.

Last year’s race was the first time it was staged in Winchester, and it raised $35,000.

The race will also seek to raise awareness about the need for organ and tissue donations.

According to recent organ donation statistics, nearly 1,000 people in Kentucky are waiting for organ donation. Hundreds more are on the list for life-enhancing transplants that include cornea and tissue transplants. Each organ donor can help as many as 50 people with their gift of organ and tissue donation.

Anyone can become a donor, but those younger than 18 years old must have the consent of a parent or legal guardian for a donation. While age limits can apply to specific organs or tissues, anyone who would like to donate can register.

Signing up is as easy as signing  up when you renew your drivers license or online through the Kentucky Organ Donation Affiliates.

Additionally, supporting families and individuals after their transplants is an important cause that is often unthought of.

As Charla Hylton, Gift of Life 5K organizer, said, ““It’s not just they have the transplant and its over. They’re on medication for the rest of their life. They have regular checkups at the facility where they had their transplant. Their body can reject the organ at any time.”

We are proud Winchester is now home to a great cause and look forward to the continued awareness and fundraising that will occur because of it.