FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – September 19, 2012Contact: Anastasia Darwish, Executive Director American Transplant Foundation firstname.lastname@example.org (720) 243-9315
Once Given Six Months to Live, Double-Lung Transplant Recipient to Runs Half Marathon to Give Hope to Others
Since Receiving New Lungs, Coloradan To Reach Personal Milestone.
DENVER, Sept. 18, 2012—As a double lung transplant recipient, Gavin Maitland never takes for granted the miracle of a single breath. In March 2008, Maitland—a former marathon runner—received a new pair of lungs that would end his six-year struggle for breath. Today, he is poised to run his first half marathon since the transplant to raise awareness about the gift of organ donation.
On Saturday morning, September 22nd, at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Denver Marathon Series in downtown Denver, Maitland will achieve this new milestone as a member of Team Transplant –the charity running group of the American Transplant Foundation. Joining Maitland in this milestone event is his 13-year-old son, Zander. Together the pair will enjoy the music-filled course with the 15,000 runners scheduled to take over the streets of Denver during this year’s race.
Maitland will be available for pre- and post-race interviews at Denver’s Civic Center Park starting at 6:50 a.m. and again at 11 a.m. once he has completed the race. Contact Anastasia Darwish on her cell phone (720) 243-9315 to coordinate a race day interview with Maitland.
Maitland, his son and the members of Team Transplant are committed to helping the 114,000 people on the organ transplant waiting list by raising awareness concerning the critical shortage of transplant organs.
“I’m running because I love to run and because I can”, said Maitland. “I want to demonstrate that an organ is the greatest gift in the world.”
Maitland is doing what was once thought impossible after he was diagnosed with a rare lung disease in 2004. With this disease, a condition in which lung tissue hardens and is rendered useless, Maitland’s only hope for survival was a double-lung transplant. Maitland has become a source of inspiration for others suffering from lung diseases, including fellow team member Jenny Butler whose three family members passed away from a genetic lung disease while on the waiting list for lung transplants.
“Everyone should realize that by being an organ donor, you have the ability to not just save lives, but to transform them,” encouraged Maitland, who experienced this transformation firsthand.
The United States is facing a critical shortage in the number of organs available for transplant. This year, an estimated 7,000 Americans will die waiting to receive a transplant that could save their lives. In Colorado alone there are over 2,200 people on the organ transplant waiting list, 48 of which are waiting for lungs. In the past month, 7 Colorado residents have been added to the waiting list. Maitland hopes that his unlikely run will draw attention to the tragically long transplant waiting list, encouraging others to become organ donors.
The American Transplant Foundation is a national nonprofit organization that works to increase the donation of organs and tissue to reduce the growing list of men, women and children who are awaiting a lifesaving transplant. Team Transplant, a project of the American Transplant Foundation, consists of athletes who compete to raise awareness about the importance of organ and tissue donation.
For more information on the American Transplant Foundation, visit www.americantransplantfoundation.org or call (720) 243-9315.