Gift of Life 5K slated for weekend

For the second year, runners will take to the streets to help raise funds for organ transplant recipients.

The Gift of Life 5K will be Saturday morning at College Park, beginning at 9 a.m., event organizer Charla Hylton said. Race registration opens at 8 a.m.

“We had, between the virtual race and the live race, 225 participants” last year, Hylton said. “Right now, we have 91 registered.”

Virtual race registration ended Thursday night, but runners will still be able to sign up Saturday morning before the race.

The event raises funds for the Satterwhite patient assistance fund, which is part of the state Trust for Life organ donor registration program, she said.

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, she said.

“It’s not just they have the transplant and its over,” Hylton said. “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.”

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

The event is more than just a 5K. Throughout the morning, there will be a health and wellness fair in College Park, a photo booth, live music by Prototype and free food, she said.

The event will also honor all living donors, organ donor families and transplant recipients, including Debra Hampton, who will start the race.

Hylton asks all donors, recipients and families to check in at the awards tent so they can be part of the recognition.