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The 20th annual LIFE Walk/Run, hosted by the Gift of Life Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program (MOTTEP), will be held at 8 a.m., Saturday, July 29, 2017, on historic Belle Isle State Park.

“It’s hard to believe that we have been sharing this message and mobilizing the community to save lives for 20 years,” said Remonia Chapman, MOTTEP program director. “So many people have contributed over the years to make this possible.”

The LIFE Walk/Run is Michigan’s largest donation event, bringing together people of all ages to honor the lives of organ, tissue, and eye donors, to celebrate those who have received the gift of life, and to give hope to people who continue to wait for a life-saving transplant.

The event features a 5K walk and 5K and 10K runs. Participants include medical and business professionals, community leaders and elected officials, media personalities and volunteers who support Gift of Life MOTTEP’s effort to address the shortage of organ and tissue donors, especially in diverse communities. Funds raised benefit public and professional education about donation in Michigan.

Chapman said MOTTEP is excited to partner with the City of Detroit to try to save more lives. Terra DeFoe, Senior Advisor to the Mayor, Public Engagement, will serve as LIFE Walk’s community engagement chair.  “African-Americans are the largest population in need of receiving donations, but the lowest to donate,” DeFoe said. “I hope to bring awareness not only to the program and how it works, but to engage those within government, businesses and people of faith. It is important for young African-American males to become organ and tissue donors, and it starts with parents and caregivers educating them on the importance of saving lives. After the unforeseen passing of my 24-year-old son Emilio, his simple act of kindness was able to improve the quality of life for six people. I never would have thought when I encouraged him to register at the age of 18, he would have to give at such a young age.”

LIFE Walk will conduct a symbolic butterfly release to honor those who have given life over the past 20 years and the thousands of lives that have been transformed as a result. Additionally, the LIFE Walk/Run café will feature a “Taste of Detroit” and farm-to-table to tasting.

“This is a wonderful event, one that guarantees a fun time for the entire family while also emphasizing the need for more life-saving, life-improving transplants,” said Dorrie Dils, CEO of Gift of Life Michigan, the state’s organ and tissue donation program.

To sign up for the walk/run, go to https://www.motteplifewalk.org/. Supporters also can register onsite beginning at 7:00 a.m. Onsite registration is $35 for walkers, $40 for runners. The 5K and 10K runs will begin at 8:00 a.m., while the 5K walk starts at 8:30 a.m.

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