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  CONTACT: Terry Gallagher
PHONE: (313) 593-5518
DATE: August 30, 2002

Oct. 5 walkathon in Dearborn will raise awareness for the need for organ and tissue donations

DEARBORN---More than a thousand people in metropolitan Detroit will join together to raise awareness for the need for organ donations in the third annual "Save A Life Walkathon," sponsored by the International Association of Organ Donation (IAOD) in Dearborn on Oct. 5.

The walk will begin at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, at the Dearborn Hills Golf Course, and follow a 3-mile loop through the parks and neighborhoods of west Dearborn. Registration, which begins at 8 a.m. and costs $25, will include a T-shirt and refreshments. (Registration before the event costs $15.) Proceeds will benefit the IAOD program.

The IAOD was founded three years ago to increase public awareness about the need for organ and tissue donation among different social, cultural and religious groups. In that short time, IAOD has registered more organ and tissue donors than any other organization in the state except for the Michigan Secretary of State's office, which encourages organ donations through the driver licensing process.

Last fall, the program received a federal grant of $900,000 to support programs to increase organ donations among ethnic communities in the metropolitan area. The grant was made to the University of Michigan-Dearborn, the Dearborn-based International Association for Organ Donation and the Gift of Life agency, who are working together to measure the impact of community and religious-based outreach and educational programs on organ donations.

"This is the third year we have coordinated this walkathon with the major health facilities in the region, colleges and universities, and the city of Dearborn," according to IAOD executive director Fouad Beydoun. "We are also working with religious and community groups to encourage more walkers this year."

"During the past year, many people have felt more of a need to support this type of cause, and to connect with other people in our communities and to help each other," according to Michelle M. Schori, vice president for clinical services at Harper University Hospital and a co-chair of this year's walkathon. "This walkathon is one more way to show that we can depend on each other and work together for the good of our communities."

Sponsors for the walkathon include Ford Motor Company, DTE Energy, Harper University Hospital, Detroit Medical Center, Henry Ford Health System, Oakwood Hospital, Davenport University, UM-Dearborn, Henry Ford Community College, Wayne State University, Comerica Bank, Standard Federal Bank, General Motors, Al Long Ford, Dearborn Federal Savings Bank, the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services, the Arab American Chamber of Commerce, the Arab-American and Chaldean Council, La Shish, Garden Foods and Gift of Life.

For information about the walkathon or other IAOD programs, contact the organization at (313) 745-2379, or at www.iaod.org.

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