A relay team in the KeyBank Vermont City Marathon on Sunday will include a previously blind woman who was the recipient of corneas that restored her sight (Jenn DeMaroney), and one of the state’s first kidney organ transplant recipients 41 years ago (Dawn Bissonnette).
The other three members of the team – Health Commissioner Harry Chen, MD, Christine Maloney, MD, and Bella Carter, whose Aunt Andrea donated her heart, liver, kidneys and corneas after she died in an auto accident in 1990 – have personal connections to organ donations that drove them to run together.
Less than five percent of Vermonters – prior to 2012 – signed up to be organ donors with the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Forty-seven percent of driver’s license recipients in 2014 have agreed to be organ donors, up from 36 percent in 2013.
“The support for organ donation by Vermonters in the past two years has been remarkable, and is a point of pride for the state,” Dr. Chen said. “This effort saves lives.”
Andrea Carter’s father, Jim Carter, is the facilitator for the Transplant Donor Network and recruited Dr. Chen, Dr. Maloney, DeMaroney, Carter, and Bissonnette to run on the team.
“Vermont used to be among the lowest in the country for organ donation and soon we will be among the best,” said Carter, a retired teacher at Winooski High School. “I go around to schools and do about 120 presentations a year, and it means a lot to me that I was able to recruit this particular group and they agreed to come together.”
To register to be a donor or for more information visit www.DonateLifeVT.org
For health news, alerts and information visit healthvermont.gov
Media Contact: Vermont Department of Health, Communication Office, 802-863-7281