MARQUETTE - The Superior Health Foundation, in cooperation with U.P. Run For Life, has established a "Run For Life Organ Donation Fund" to assist qualifying organ transplant patients and organ donors in the Upper Peninsula with out-of-pocket expenses.
The Run for Life Fund is set up to assist organ transplant patients with medical costs, prescription and mileage expenses, as well as assist potential organ donors with travel expenses. All monies will stay in the Upper Peninsula.
The fund was borne out of the volunteer work done by Amy Harju of Marquette, who organized the inaugural Run For Life walk/run in the summer of 2012. The event has now evolved into an annual event, with this year's Run For Life scheduled for Saturday, June 8, at Mattson Lower Harbor Park in Marquette (see www.uprunforlife.com/About_Me.html to learn more).
Harju is a kidney transplant recipient who received the Gift of Life from a very close friend nearly a decade ago.
"I'm living proof, along with many others, that organ donation is a second chance at a healthy life," Harju said. "Knowing the importance of organ donation, I've always wanted to do something to help promote it along with celebrating the gift of life."
The Superior Health Foundation acts as the charitable fundraising arm for U.P. Run For Life. SHF Executive Director Jim LaJoie said part of the Foundation's mission is to assist residents of the Upper Peninsula with unmet healthcare needs and organ donation and the lives it saves fits into the mission.
"The Superior Health Foundation supports organ donation and applauds the efforts of U.P. Run For Life," he said. "It recognizes the need to help alleviate the costs eligible transplant patients and donors may occur."
U.P. Run For Life partnered with the Marquette Royales junior hockey team in December on a Skate for Life fundraiser to add to the fund.
Criteria for the Organ Donation Fund, as well as an online application form, can be found on the SHF website at www.superiorhealthfoundation.org. The maximum annual award for transplant patients is $1,000, with the maximum annual award for organ donors being $500.
If interested in supporting the fund with a philanthropic gift, visit the Superior Health Foundation website or call (906) 225-6914.