Get ready to run, walk and Instagram to your heart’s content this weekend. On Saturday Sept. 26 the Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland‘s annual Donate Life Family Fun Run returns to Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium. This year participants of the 5K run/walk and 1K walk can expect live entertainment, face painting, a photo booth, and food trucks. “T-Shirt Row,” the crowd favorite installation, will be back boasting hand painted t-shirts made by teams in honor of donors, recipients and those awaiting a transplant. Beginning at Druid Hill Park in 2009 the run has increased nearly ten times in participants. Last year the turnout was what the organization called “a humbling” 3, 300.
When the 5k began back in ‘09 they had 384 participants, says Allison Byers, the LLF’s public relations coordinator, and that they aim to have as many participants as there are patients on the donor wait list. There are currently just over 3,700 people waiting for a life-saving transplant in Maryland.
Throughout the run’s seven year history its organizers have had to constantly develop and improve how they connect with their audience; this year the run features a social media contest for the first time. Using the hashtag #DonateLifeFunRun all participants are encouraged to share photos across Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Five winners, chosen at random Sunday after the run, will receive a crab medal. The lucky social media mavens will be announced Tuesday Sept. 29.
“At the end of the day, our ultimate goal is to raise awareness and inspire Marylanders to save lives by designating themselves as organ and tissue donors” says Byers, adding that, “The Donate Life Family Fun Run is the epitome of that [goal], as it brings together donor families, recipients, wait-list candidates and the community to raise awareness for donation.”
Online registration may have closed but there’s still an opportunity to participate. Day-of registration begins at 7am and is $25 for adults and $15 for youth (ages 6-12). Registration includes a t-shirt, race bag, timing chip and bib and entry to post-race festivities.
For more information about the 5K and the Living Legacy Foundation, visit them online: thellf.org.