Organ donation will be at the heart of tomorrow’s Donate Life Walk on campus, and ABC will be on campus to record the event.
Donate Life Walk will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday on the Lunsford Trail. Students and other participants will start at the GATA Fountain and walk twice around the Lunsford, which is about a 5K walk. Computers and printers will be on site for anyone who wishes to become an organ donor, and participants can print out a donation card at anytime during the event.
Ryan Flores, freshman biology major from Spring, is the story behind the event. When Flores was born in 1992, he only had 10 percent function in one kidney and zero percent in the other. Doctors knew Flores would not survive without a kidney transplant. Since both were good matches, Flores’ parents had to decide who would donate a kidney. Flores’ father decided to donate his kidney to his newborn son, allowing his wife to take care of Flores’ three-year-old brother while he stayed in the hospital. The transplant took place when Flores was about 16 months old.
“An adult kidney is about the size of your face, so [doctors] placed my dad’s kidney in front of my stomach so it would fit,” Flores said. “I still only have one 100 percent functioning kidney.”
Because of the medication involved in the transplant, Flores contracted lymphoma at age five. After three months of radiation treatment, his cancer went into remission.
ABC’s Everyday Health, from the producers of The Biggest Loser, is a new television series about ordinary people facing health issues who give back to their communities. Everyday Health got wind of Flores’ story through his hospital and selected him for an episode. All episodes lead up to a charity event at the end. Everyday Health and Flores are working together to make Donate Life Walk possible.
Flores’ hospital, Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, called his family to see if he would be interested in being on Everyday Health. Flores received the call from Texas Children’s about two months ago. Flores said he was shocked to be considered for the show.
“Our casting people called several hospitals across the country looking for amazing stories from ordinary people,” said Kristen Alexander, field producer for ABC’s Everyday Health. “Texas Children’s reached out to [the Flores family] from there.”
Attendees will be asked to give $5 to participate in the walk. The cost includes a T-shirt, wristband and a sandwich from Subway. There is no cost to print out an organ donor card. The walk is open to anyone who wishes to attend. Everyday Health airs on Saturday mornings after Good Morning America on ABC.
“A lot of college people don’t think organ donation is a big deal,” Flores said, “but it can truly change someone’s life.”