April 24, 2007
By Meryl Smith
At any given time, about 17,000 people need a liver transplant. Only 7,000 will get one and about 2,000 will die each year. Those stats - and a man who many call a hero - are behind the inaugural Ohio University Rock n' Run 5K Race and Concert.
Tom Starr, founder of Miracles for Life, has teamed up with Donate Life Ohio, Red Cross, and students and faculty at the Ralph and Luci Schey Sales Centre at Ohio University - an organization he pioneered about 10 years ago - to host the event on Saturday, April 28.
Rock n' Run for Life
When: Saturday, April 28 Check in at the Ping Center: 3 to 5 p.m. Olympic Torch Run and Parade at Baker: 5 p.m. 5K Walk/Run: 6 p.m. Awards Ceremony: 7:30 p.m. Rock Concert: 8 p.m.
How: Register online at www.miraclesforlife.org - $10 for the race only - $10 for the concert only - $15 for both the race and the concert
Presented by: Miracles for Life and The Ralph and Luci Schey Sales Centre at Ohio University
To benefit: Donate Life Ohio and the American Red Cross
Aimed at raising awareness about organ and tissue donation, the day's event will kick off at 3 p.m. with a 5K run and will culminate with an awards ceremony and rock concert featuring Infinity Ball, a Cincinnati band, and Proximity Grey and The Pikers, both Columbus bands.
Starr, who beat the odds and has received two liver transplants, has dedicated his life to improving others' chances of receiving the same gift of life.
His moving story and his ability to motivate people to action has inspired many.
In 1988 Starr was told that he would soon die without a new liver. In June 1988, he received the gift of a liver transplant. Eighteen years later, however, his liver contracted the same disease that required the first transplant in 1988.
Last May, Starr received his second liver, his third chance at life and the opportunity to continue promoting a cause that could save 95,000 men, women and children across the United States, including more than 2,500 Ohioans who are awaiting a lifesaving organ transplant.
"The miracles I have received are something that I can't give back. Te only thing I can do is honor the gifts of the heroes whose loved ones passed that were kind enough to donate, and recognize the courage of the transplant recipients and what they've gone through," Starr said.
Starr credits many people for pulling this event together. Those involved, however, say Starr is the star.
"There are so many people surrounding this event, but the common thread tying them together is Tom Starr. He is the champion of this, and he is the champion of organ donation," said Chris Moberg, professor of marketing at Ohio University and faculty adviser for The Sales Centre. "I am amazed at the amount of energy, passion, sacrifice and commitment he gives to The Sales Centre, to his career, to being a mentor to kids and to being available to people."
Starr would like to set a record for the number of people who have registered to be organ donors in the Ohio database. His aim is 1,000 the day of the race. The overall goal is to have 800,000 people in the Ohio Donor Registry in the next year - an increase of 20 percent. He also is pushing for people to give blood on race day.
"He is a big thinker; he gets people energized and excited about the cause, and he is able to inspire others, which is how The Sales Centre got involved," said Amber Fox, student vice president of the communications division of The Sales Centre. "His energy and passion is contagious."
To register for the event, to find out how to be an organ donor, and/or to find out more about Tom Starr and Miracles for Life, visit www.miraclesforlife.org.
Meryl Smith is a student writer with University Communications and Marketing.