By Allyssa Bates
Like many of you, I was out supporting this year’s running of the Boston Marathon on Monday. What a day—filled with so many emotions—sadness, joy, triumph . I cheered for the runners, the volunteers, the survivors, the city of Boston and for the people around the world who stood (and in some cases, ran) with us in our darkest moments and who celebrated with us on Monday. Every year, the marathon offers us individual displays of the triumph of the human spirit and this year didn’t disappoint. But there was something more—a recognition that we were running to show the world that acts of terrorism ultimately don’t succeed. Thank you to everyone who put some of our fears to rest with the successful running of the 118th Boston Marathon!
The Boston Marathon has always been a symbol of redemption for me. I’ve run the race seven times and it is my favorite marathon by far — the fans, the course, the prestige! But in 2006, it took on a much deeper meaning. In June 2005, I had donated a kidney to my younger brother and needed a goal to help me get through my recovery. As I shared in my TEDxTalk, “Confessions of a Kidney Donor,” I was very concerned that I might not be able to be as physically active after the transplant. Therefore, I set the goal of running the Boston Marathon the following April. As my training runs got longer, I got stronger both mentally and physically. When I crossed the finish line, I knew I was back!
This month combines two of my passions—the Boston Marathon and National Donate Life Month. So many people are battling diseases that can be solved by organ donation. After the bombing, many of us felt helpless — this is how people waiting on the organ waitlist feel for years. There are 120,000 people waiting for organ donations in the United States alone. I hope some of you might consider registering to become a donor and giving peace to the thousands of people currently on the wait list.
There is a lot to learn about organ donation – while it is important to talk about end-of-life decisions, it is becoming more common to donate organs and partial organs while living. Kidneys are the most common donations from living donors, but other organs that can be donated include a lobe of a lung, partial liver, pancreas or intestine. My TEDxBeaconStreet talk could be a great place for you to start your journey to learn about organ donation!