Four of the six women in the photo will be participating this weekend in the Organs 'R' Us event in California to raise money and awareness about organ donation. Last September at the Hana Relay, this group -- Suzanne Ditter (not participating), left, Julie Sestak, Dr. Rosemary Adam-Terem, Jean Quigley, Renee Kojima (not participating) and Pam Kuehl -- won the Masters Women Division.
Going the distance
Four women will run to raise awareness about organ donation
A small Hawaii contingent of health-care professionals is headed to California for "The Relay" race this weekend to support organ donation.
It is believed to be the first time runners from Hawaii are part of an official team to participate in the 14th annual event, a 199-mile run from Calistoga to Santa Cruz.
Four women from Hawaii -- Dr. Rosemary Adam-Terem, Julie Sestak, Jean Quigley and Pam Kuehl -- will be joined by fellow runners from Canada and California. The runners make up the 12-member team called the International Used Parts Department. Some of the teammates from Hawaii and the mainland are originally from New Zealand, England, Australia and other countries.
Already, the team, made up of women between the ages 40 and 57, raised $2,789 to support Organs 'R' Us, which makes the team among the top 20 donors for the two-day event. The top donor team, called Know Us by the Trail of Drugs, from Redwood City, Calif., donated $18,236, according to the Web site www.therelay.com.
The race will be divided into three legs. Each runner will run an average of 16 miles. The transfer of the baton from runner to runner will symbolize the transfer of an organ, said Jeff Shapiro, one of the event's organizers.
Jennifer Pratt Mead, right, of San Francisco is part of the team that includes runners from Hawaii. Mead donated a kidney about two years ago to her mother, Eileen Pratt, left.
The Hawaii participants are all avid runners and were part of a team that won the Hana Relay race last year for the Masters Women Division ages 40 and over. A participant of at least 10 Honolulu Marathon races, Quigley, 47, team captain and a nurse in pediatric oncology at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children, said she is looking forward to having fun with her teammates.
"We're running for good," said teammate Adam-Terem, 57, a clinical psychologist who raised almost $1,000 for the event. "You actually help people by doing it."
For teammate Jennifer Pratt Mead of San Francisco, this will be the first race she has participated in since she donated a kidney to her ailing mother almost two years ago. Her mother, Eileen Pratt, 70, underwent a liver transplant in 1990, several years after she was diagnosed with hepatitis C. But 15 years later she began to suffer from kidney failure. After extensive research on kidney transplants, Mead, 44, agreed to be a donor for her.
The transplant, which took place at the University of Michigan Medical Center in June 2006, was successful. "My mom told me a week ago that she hasn't felt this good since 1980," she said yesterday during a phone interview from San Francisco.