June 1, 2022
LONG BRANCH, NJ (MONMOUTH)–On May 15, 2022, thousands of organ and tissue transplant recipients, donor families, living donors and dedicated volunteers participated in NJ Sharing Network’s 5K Celebration of Life Walk and USATF Certified Race at the Great Lawn at the Ocean Promenade in Long Branch, NJ.
More than 70 family members and friends of the late Billy Romanello, of Sea Bright, NJ, gathered together to form “Billy Romanello’s 5K Team” to honor his memory and show their support for NJ Sharing Network’s life-saving mission. Billy, who tragically passed away in 2015 at the age of 38 due to hereditary heart issues, was an organ and tissue donor who saved and enhanced the lives of many others.
Billy’s stepmother, Stacey Romanello, led the 5K team and expressed great pride in knowing that Billy’s legacy of caring lives on.
“Billy is always present in our hearts and in our minds,” said Stacey. “We miss him every day. Our hurt is eased by knowing that even during his last moments, Billy was caring for others. He left a part of himself so that others could live. This was typical of Billy. He always had a kind word and was the first to give a helping hand to those in need.”
According to United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), there are over 100,000 Americans – nearly 4,000 of whom live in New Jersey – waiting for a life-saving transplant. One organ and tissue donor can save eight lives and enhance the lives of over 75 others. To learn more, get involved and register as an organ and tissue donor, visit www.NJSharingNetwork.org.
The 5K Celebration of Life, which was sponsored by Hackensack Meridian Health, is the largest fundraising event to support organ and tissue donation and transplantation in the United States. Thus far, $924,000 has been raised for this year’s campaign. Another 5K Celebration of Life Walk and USATF Certified Race will be held on Sunday, June 5, 2022, in New Providence, NJ. To participate in the upcoming 5K Celebration of Life or contribute to a team, sign up at www.SharingNetworkFoundation.org/5K.